California snags China's BYD U.S. headquarters
* Company plans to hire some 150 people for new office
* Expects California sales of its electric car next year
LOS ANGELES, April 30 (Reuters) - Chinese car and battery maker BYD Co (1211.HK), backed by U.S. billionaire Warren Buffett, said on Friday it would put its North American headquarters in Los Angeles, California.
California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has focused on getting green technology companies to set up shop in his state offering tax breaks for makers of so-called green technology equipment.
He credited the state's energy policies for attracting BYD and for creating the estimated 150 jobs planned for its headquarters, which will be involved with marketing, sales, technical support, local product design and training.
Officials did not say how much taxpayer funds were being used in the deal.
Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway (BRKa.N) (BRKb.N) owns 10 percent of BYD, which has said it could also build a manufacturing facility in the United States, depending on demand for its E6 electric car here.
The company plans to export the car to the U.S. market later this year for testing, and to begin commercial sales of it in California in 2011, Stella Li, BYD senior vice president told reporters.
She declined to say what the car would cost or specify the company's sales goals were.
BYD will likely go up against Nissan (7201.T), Ford (F.N) and General Motors [GM.N], which are all planning to release electric cars in the United States soon.
Li said BYD welcomed the competition.
"We want to encourage all the automakers to produce the EV (electric vehicle) because if everyone pushes the EV market, then we create this market," she said. (Reporting by Dana Ford)
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