German automaker Daimler said it has received Chinese-government approval for a truck joint venture, as the world's vehicle makers look to China for growth amid a global economic slump.
Daimler Truck, a unit of the German company, would hold a 50% stake in the venture, which would have annual production capacity of 160,000 trucks, Daimler said.
The Chinese partner in the joint venture -- Beijing-based Foton Motors -- is a key player in China's truck market, selling 105,000 vehicles last year. Foton is a unit of industry giant Beijing Automotive Industry Corp.
"This is an important step for the global growth strategy of Daimler, as well as the local expansion of our portfolio," Daimler chairman Dieter Zetsche said in the statement.
The Daimler group includes the Mercedes-Benz brand.
The deal will give Daimler a 50% stake in Foton's medium- and heavy-truck business, the company said.
The joint venture also would move toward localized production of a truck engine developed by Mercedes-Benz.
Financial details of the agreement were not given.
The two companies signed a joint venture agreement in July 2010, but the deal was subject to approval by China's Ministry of Commerce.
China has become an increasingly important auto market after it overtook the United States two years ago to become the world's largest. Last year, China's auto sales rose more than 32% to a record of more than 18 million vehicles.
But that blistering pace has slowed after China phased out some sales incentives.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2011