HONG KONG (Reuters) - Ford Motor and China's Anhui Zotye Automobile have agreed to invest a combined $756 million to set up a 50-50 joint venture in China to build electric passenger vehicles, both companies said on Wednesday.
The new joint venture, Zotye Ford Automobile Co. Ltd, plans to build a manufacturing plant in Zhejiang province and will sell all-electric vehicles under a new Chinese brand, tapping into a boom for such vehicles in the world's top auto market, Ford Motor said in a statement.
"Zotye Ford will introduce a new brand family of small all-electric vehicles," Ford group vice president Peter Fleet said in the statement. "We will be exploring innovative vehicle connectivity and mobility service solutions for a new generation of young city-dwelling Chinese customers."
The JV deal was signed during U.S. President Donald Trump's visit to China as the two countries inked commercial deals worth about $9 billion.
In addition to the new JV, Ford and Zotye will explore offering mobility services to consumers in China as local demand for such solutions continues to grow, Ford's statement added.
China, struggling with alarming pollution levels in major cities, is aggressively pushing plug-in vehicles and has poured in tens of billions of yuan in investment, research funding and subsidies, drawing many new automakers to launch projects.
(Reporting by Meg Shen, editing by David Evans)