Birmingham is in line to create more than 100 skilled jobs with top Chinese car-maker Changan in advanced talks about setting up a base in the city.
Changan, one of the largest car-makers in China, is in negotiations over setting up a research and development operation at the Advanced Manufacturing Hub in Aston.
This comes after city council leader Sir Albert Bore led a delegation which visited the company in China last year.
There are, however, thought to be other sites in the running, including one in Coventry.
While the final decision is still to be made, the Post understands plans include a showroom, office and distribution facilities, covering up to 100,000 sq ft.
It is the latest boost the city has enjoyed from the Far East amid rising interest in property from wealthy Chinese investors and the West Midlands boasting a £1.7 billion export surplus with the emerging superpower.
Changan UK set up its research and development centre, CAUK, in Nottingham Science Park in 2010, where it carries out powertrain design and development.
However, it is understood the firm wants to be closer to automotive firms in the West Midlands.
Sources told the Post that flights to China – now a possibility from Birmingham Airport – were an important factor in attracting interest from Changun.
While talks between the city and the Changan board have been taking place for about 18 months, it is expected a final decision will be made before the autumn.
If it were to select the Advanced Manufacturing Hub, it would take between nine and 12 months.
A source close to the talks told the Post: “They want this to be a prestige development. This is not just going to be a shed – it is going to showcase the company’s aspirations.
“Changan have big plans for the UK market and they want a visible location. Their interest is particularly now there is connectivity with the Chinese mainland.”