GM looks to China for growth

After North America, there's no doubt which is the next most important region for General Motors Co. The automaker's decision to manage its international operations out of Shanghai signals the crucial importance of the fast-growing Far Eastern markets, and China in particular.

"When the dust settles from this automotive crisis, it'll be clear to see that Asia is the epicenter of growth," said Michael Dunne, managing director of J.D. Power and Associates' China operations. "Whereas Europe and the United States may have matured, Asia is just getting started."

China is on track this year to rival and possibly surpass the United States, with sales expected to exceed 11 million vehicles.

The main markets of the Asia-Pacific region stretching from India to Japan are expected to generate combined sales of more than 21 million cars and trucks this year, roughly double the sales forecast for the United States, according to J.D. Power.

As a new GM emerged from bankruptcy last Friday, CEO Fritz Henderson said Nick Reilly, the Shanghai-based president of GM Asia Pacific, would remain in China as the new head of international operations.

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