Nissan will spend billions to make China its biggest market

Nissan is trying to connect your car to your brain
Nissan is trying to connect your car to your brain

Nissan is the latest global carmaker to pledge billions of dollars of new investment to try to boost its position in China, the world's largest auto market.

The Japanese company said in a statement Monday it will spend 60 billion yuan ($9.5 billion) alongside its Chinese partner over the next five years. Under the plans, China will overtake the U.S. to become Nissan's biggest market by far.

Like other major auto brands, Nissan (NSANF) is betting big on electric vehicles in China: it said Monday it's aiming to introduce 20 new models there. More electric cars are sold in China than anywhere else on the planet.

Related: China is winning electric cars 'arms race'

Nissan operates in China through a joint venture with local manufacturer Dongfeng Motor Group (DNFGY). The venture aims to sell 2.6 million vehicles a year by 2022, up from 1.5 million in 2017. Revenue in China is expected to hit 300 billion yuan ($48 billion) in the same year, Nissan said.

Beijing has pushed automakers to ramp up electric-vehicle manufacturing and even said it's considering eventually banning the production and sale of vehicles powered solely by fossil fuels.

Nissan's new plans will call for its high-end Infiniti brand to shift entirely to electric and hybrid vehicles in China by 2025.

Related: These countries want to ditch gas and diesel cars

Nissan is also sharpening its focus on China as growth slows in other major markets.

Its U.S. sales rose 1.9% last year to nearly 1.6 million. In China, they jumped more than 12% to 1.5 million.

Other big Western auto makers have been increasing their investments into the country. Late last year, Volkswagen (VLKAF) said it planned to invest over €10 billion ($12.5 billion) in building electric and hybrid cars in China over the next few years.

Toyota (TM) and Ford (F) have made similar announcements to launch more electric models in China recent months.

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