Toyota said on Friday it aims to raise its share of China's fast-growing car market to 10% by 2010 from just over 1% this year - a target higher than the current share of No. 2 player General Motors, Reuters reported.

Senior managing director Akio Toyoda told Reuters he expected the Chinese market to expand to five million vehicles a year by 2005 and to 10 million by 2010, up from 3.2 million last year.

He reportedly said that although the Chinese market may not grow as fast in 2004 as in recent years, growth prospects remained bright.

"Future market growth will come from China's largest population and land areas, growing economy and motorisation of its society," he told Reuters.

But the news agency said Toyoda, who oversees Toyota's Asia-Pacific operations, gave no details of how his firm might take such a large share of a highly competitive market.

Reuters noted that Japanese media reported last week that Toyota had agreed to establish a joint business with China's First Automotive Works to sell cars made by their joint ventures in China.

The deal, which will make Toyota the first foreign car company to build a national sales network in China, is expected to increase the efficiency of joint ventures that had been selling cars separately, the report added.

Reuters said the Nihon Keizai Shimbun reported the two car makers planned to set up an equally owned sales firm by the end of the year and to double the number of sales outlets in China to more than 100.

Reuters noted that Toyota, in a bid to muscle its way into one of the world's fastest-growing car markets in the wake of earlier rivals Volkswagen and GM, signed a far-ranging alliance with FAW this year to make 300,000 to 400,000 cars by 2010.

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