(Bloomberg) -- Great Wall Motor Co., the king of sport utility vehicles in China, is feeling the rising heat from competition. After reporting earnings that more than halved last year, it is now turning to potential customers abroad for its next phase of growth.
The Baoding city-based automaker will initially focus on countries such as Russia and those in the Middle East that have similar regulations as China, founder and Chairman Wei Jianjun told reporters in Hong Kong on Monday. The company will build its vehicles in Russia, with a factory capable of rolling out 80,000 vehicles annually set to start operations in 2019, he said. Plans to sell cars in the U.S. starting 2021 are also on the cards, he said.
The nation’s automobile industry is spreading its wings and eyeing the global buyer at a time trade tensions between the U.S. and China are clouding prospects for world commerce. Current U.S. import duties are still competitive and any future adverse changes may prompt his company to review its plans for the U.S., Wei said.
Great Wall reported on Friday that its profit fell by 52 percent last year to 5.03 billion yuan ($796 million) as it spent more on incentives and discounts to help secure market share.
©2018 Bloomberg L.P.
With assistance from Tian Ying, Daniela Wei