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China welcomes foreign investment in auto industry: spokesperson

  BEIJING, Jan. 10 (Xinhua) -- China welcomes foreign companies to make investment and tap into the opportunities in its automobile market, a trade official said Thursday.

  The demand is huge for new energy vehicles (NEVs) and other automobile products in China as the market is entering a new phase that features diversified demand and quality-oriented purchases, Gao Feng, the spokesperson of the Ministry of Commerce, said at a press conference.

  Gao's remarks came after the U.S. electric carmaker Tesla Inc. broke ground on its first overseas factory in Shanghai on Monday.

  Tesla's new factory will be a boon to the development of China's NEV sector, pushing forward industrial upgrades and bringing domestic buyers more choices, Gao said.

  As the first carmaker to set up a wholly-owned company in China, Tesla has witnessed and benefited from the new round of China's opening up to the outside world, Gao said.