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TOKYO (XFN-ASIA) - Sumitomo Corp will acquire a 49 pct stake in the automobile sales unit of Baosteel Group Corp, China''s largest steelmaker, to gain entry into China''s car dealership business, the Nihon Keizai Shimbun reported in its evening edition, without citing sources.
The Japanese trading firm would be the first foreign company in China to own part of a car dealership that offers different brands of vehicles, the business daily said.
Sumitomo early next year will buy new shares issued by the Baosteel subsidiary for about 1.2 bln yen, it said.
The Chinese company sells vehicles made by Toyota Motor Corp as well as Germany''s Volkswagen AG and Audi AG, through six new car dealerships and two outlets for used cars in Shanghai and in Zhejiang, Jiangsu, Guangdong and Jiangxi provinces, according to the report.
In 2005, the Chinese car dealer sold 3,465 new vehicles, it said.
Sumitomo plans to increase the number of brands sold by the company by offering vehicles of other Japanese automakers in addition to Toyota, and aims to boost the total number of new and used car outlets in the country to 20 by the year 2010, it said.
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