SEOUL Hyundai Motor Co (005380.KS) plans to remodel a car assembly plant belonging to a Chinese partner, a newspaper reported, a move which could help pave the way for the South Korean automaker to build a separate factory in western China.
Hyundai, which currently only has factories in eastern China, has said it is keen to build a plant in China's southwestern city of Chongqing which would help it tap growing demand in western parts of the country.
But it has yet to gain the approval of China's central government, with South Korean media saying that it is under pressure to build a plant in the northeastern province of Hebei.
Hyundai now plans to remodel a Beijing plant owned by its Chinese partner, Beijing Automotive Industry Holding Co Ltd, in addition to pursuing its plans with its partner for a factory in Chongqing, said the Korea Economic Daily, citing the automaker and the South Korean government.
Both plants are set to come on line in 2016, it said.
A Hyundai Motor spokesman was not immediately available for comment. A spokesman for Korea's industry ministry declined to comment.
(Reporting by Hyunjoo Jin; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)