updated 6/23/2004 7:57:53 AM ET 2004-06-23T11:57:53

General Motors said Wednesday it will move its Asia-Pacific headquarters from Singapore to Shanghai, reflecting the importance of China’s fast-growing car market.

The move shows “how important China has become to our plans to expand our global industry leadership,” GM’s Chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner said in a news release posted on GM’s Web site.

GM said the move includes regional finance, product planning, personnel and purchasing operations. It said the headquarters site is to be chosen by next month, and the move completed by January.

The U.S. automaker has six joint ventures in China with a partner, Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp.

GM runs a distant second to Volkswagen in sales among foreign automakers in China.
It announced plans this month to invest $3 billion to expand production in China, but it wasn’t clear whether that included the new Shanghai headquarters.

“We view long-term success and aggressive expansion in China as a key part of our future growth around the world,” Troy Clarke, president of GM Asia Pacific, said in the news release.

GM has 22,600 employees across 14 countries in the Asia-Pacific region from India to New Zealand.

Last year, the Asia-Pacific division earned $577 million and had 4.9 percent of the regional market, the company said.

Copyright 2004 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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