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Siemens to pour cash into China

The cell phone maker plans to invest $1.2 billion in China over the next few years as part of a plan to double revenue in that country.

    Siemens, a top maker of cell phones, plans to invest $1.2 billion in China over the next few years as part of a plan to double revenue in that country.

    Part of the investment will go to a new headquarters in Beijing, while the remainder will mostly be used to expand Siemens' various business subsidiaries and to beef up its research and manufacturing facilities in the country, according to Siemens.

    "As part of this strategy, the company will double the number of regional offices from the current 28 to 60 in order to ensure a presence in all of the country's provinces," Siemens said.

    In addition, Siemens plans to boost the production of mobile handsets at its Shanghai plant from 14 million to 20 million units annually. Earlier this month, Siemens appointed local handset manufacturer Ningbo Bird as the main distributor of its phones in China, and the two companies also agreed to jointly develop products for domestic and international markets.

    Beyond its cell phone division, the German engineering conglomerate said other business units specializing in areas such as power generation, transportation, lighting and medical systems, will also be strengthened in China.

    According to Siemens CEO Heinrich von Pierer, the billion-dollar boost is designed to lift the company?s sales in China from $4.8 billion last year to $9.6 billion in the near future.

    "We see good chances of doubling today's sales volume in the next three to five years, von Pierer said. "We would thus grow faster than the Chinese market, and we would increase China's share of our worldwide business."

    Siemens currently owns 45 companies and joint ventures and employs around 30,000 workers in the mainland.

    Winston Chai of CNETAsia reported from Singapore.