BMW AG stands to become the first foreign car manufacturer to own a majority stake in a Chinese joint venture, showing Beijing is following through on a pledge to increasingly open up the economy to global corporations.
BMW plans to unveil the new ownership structure in its joint venture with Brilliance China Automotive Holdings soon, according to a person familiar with the plan, who asked not to be identified because the accord remains confidential. BMW now holds 50 percent of the venture.
BMW Chief Executive Officer Harald Krueger was in Berlin at the start of the week during a summit between Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Among discussions were opportunities to open up China more to foreign investment. As part of corporate deals signed at the meeting, chemicals company BASF SE agreed to invest as much as $10 billion in a new factory in China that it would wholly own, also a first for that industry.
BMW declined to comment on the state of its discussions with Brilliance. The German company is set to boost its stake in the venture to at least 75 percent, Manager Magazin reported earlier. Brilliance, which now owns 40.5 percent of the venture, didn't immediately return a call and email seeking comment.