Tesla plans to expand annual production capacity in China from 250,000 to 450,000 vehicles this year to meet growing demand, according to local reports citing a company statement.

At the end of last year, the US electric vehicle manufacturer began production of the Model Y SUV at its Shanghai gigafactory, alongside the Model 3 which had been in production since late 2019.

The company sold 137,459 vehicles in China last year, according to the China Passenger Vehicle Association, mostly locally-made Model 3s but also other models imported from the US.

The company also began exporting the Model 3 to Europe from China in September 2020 and shipments to other markets in Asia are scheduled to begin this year.

Chinese Model 3 production reportedly has increased to around 5,000 units per week.

The company's global sales increased by 36% to 500,000 vehicles last year, with China accounting for over 27% of the total.

A new plant in Berlin is scheduled to start production this year, adding further to the company's global capacity. 

Tesla in a recent statement said "we are planning to grow our manufacturing capacity as soon as possible. Over a multi-year horizon, we expect to achieve 50% average annual sales growth. In some years we may grow faster, which we expect will be the case this year".