The deal to rescue struggling South Korean SUV maker Ssangyong Motor has been clouded by two Chinese companies both claiming to have won their government's permission to bid to take over the firm, Reuters reported.

Just two days after creditors for Ssangyong had recommended chemicals conglomerate China National Blue Star Group as the top bidder for a controlling stake in the carmaker worth about $US620 million, Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp (SAIC) - General Motors Corp's main Chinese partner - said late on Thursday it had received Chinese government permission to bid to take over the South Korean company, Reutere said.

"The information we received yesterday was that SAIC was the only one the government had recognised," SAIC spokesman Xue Hao told the news agency on Friday.

"This came from the foreign investment division of the National Development and Reform Commission," he reportedly added, confirming SAIC had bid for Ssangyong despite previous denials.

Xue was unsure why SAIC had not been mentioned by the creditors, Reuters said, noting that Chinese government officials were not immediately available for comment and that Chohung Bank said it was unconcerned about the confusion.

"We're going to name the final preferred bidder today. Then we'll move on to sign an memorandum of understanding," an official at Chohung Bank's corporate financing team, which is handling Ssangyong Motor's sale, told the news agency, which added that another Chohung Bank official said SAIC's bid had "no chance".

According to Reuters, Blue Star reacted angrily to suggestions the Chinese government had blocked its bid.

"It's a rumour," an official at Blue Star's car repair division, which is leading the bid for Ssangyong, told the news agency. "How could we even have submitted a bid if the Chinese government hadn't given the nod?"

Creditors reportedly said the Chinese conglomerate had the best overall bid for the stake.

Main creditor Chohung Bank told Reuters Blue Star planned to invest about $700 million in plants and research and development by 2010.