BEIJING -- Great Wall Motor has gained domestic regulatory approval to build a factory with BMW in a move that could see BMW build electric Minis in China.
In February 2018, BMW and Great Wall signed a letter of intent to produce battery-powered Minis in China.
The venture aimed to open a plant in Zhangjiagang with the capacity to build 160,000 gasoline vehicles for export and another 160,000 so-called New Energy Vehicles (NEVs), according to documents on the city's website.
The project has been delayed by regulatory hurdles.
In a Shanghai Stock Exchange filing on Friday, Great Wall said the project would have a total investment of 5.1 billion yuan ($724.4 million) with construction due to begin next year and be completed in 2022.
Great Wall said capacity for NEVs (battery-electric vehicles, plug-in hybrids and fuel cell vehicles) has yet to be approved by authorities.
A trade dispute between China and the U.S. has led BMW executives to freeze plans for the creation of a Chinese export hub. BMW said at the Geneva auto show in March that it needed to evaluate whether the export plan is financially viable.
On Friday, BMW said in a statement that the initial focus of its cooperation with Great Wall is the joint research and development and the future local production of Mini electric vehicles.
BMW said that a further announcement about the joint venture will be made in Zhangjiagang on Nov. 29.
BMW sells just over 2 million cars a year and Great Wall sold more than 1 million vehicles last year.