BRATISLAVA (Reuters) -- Chinese carmaker Jianghuai Automobile Co. is in talks with the Slovak government on a possible investment, the country's economy ministry said on Tuesday.
JAC is considering building an assembly plant in Slovakia to take advantage of the country's euro zone membership, central European location and business environment, the ministry said.
State-owned JAC opened an overseas r&d center in Turin, Italy, in 2005. Founded in 1964, the company is an established truck maker that started to make minivans and compact sedans a few years ago.
The company says it has an annual capacity of 500,000 cars and exports to more than 100 countries including Russia and Ukraine, as well as Latin America, Africa and the Middle East. It says its 2009 sales revenue was $3 billion.
Slovakia, the euro zone's newest member, is emerging from a deep economic crisis and needs new investment to cut unemployment which has hit five-year highs.
"We are negotiating conditions of our entry to your (Slovak) market with Slovak officials," the economy ministry cited JAC regional head David Wang as saying. "Therefore, I do not want to be specific about the size of the investment in this phase. All I can says is that it is about passenger cars and light trucks," he said.
The Slovak economy is driven by the automotive sector, centred around assembly plants of Volkswagen AG, PSA/Peugeot-Citroen and Kia Motors Corp.
Yang Jian in Shanghai contributed to this report