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Geely is already marketing products like the Emgrand EC7 in Europe, making it the world's largest Chinese automaker.

Geely Automobile Holdings Ltd., which is rapidly emerging as one of China’s top automotive companies, saw its sales increase by 44% in its home market during the first half of 2018, the company reported.

The company reported that it sold 766,630 vehicles between January-June, and is the best-selling Chinese automaker globally, according to automotive data website Focus2move. The firm sold 1.2 million cars in 2017.

Geely also said it was very confident of meeting or exceeding its full year sales volume target of 1.58 million units for 2018, as it plans to introduce five new models in China this year and expand its presence in Southeast Asia where demand for new vehicles is growing steadily.

On Saturday Geely said it would extend its existing partnership with Malaysia’s Proton Holdings Berhad to help Proton establish a presence in China.

Based in the eastern Chinese city of Hangzhou, Geely has benefited from high-profile deals made by its parent firm, Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, such as the acquisition of Volvo in 2010.

Geely is the largest China-owned automaker in China.

(Geely ready to plow $1.98 billion into Lotus. Click Here for the story.)

Affordable models introduced after that acquisition, such as the Boyue sport-utility vehicle, have been popular with buyers in China, where SUVs make up 58% of Geely’s total sales, analysts noted.

Overall, Geely surpassed its top three Japanese rivals to become the third-largest carmaker in China, helped by models that appeal to the nation’s young consumers. Geely now trails only Volkswagen AG and General Motors Co. in China, after overtaking Nissan Motor Co., Honda Motor Co. and Toyota Motor Corp. in the period.

Geely also has been expanding by offering vehicles such as those under the Lynk & Co. brand jointly developed with Volvo Car Group.

“In view of an even stronger new products pipeline ahead, the Group should be in a good position to secure higher market share in China’s passenger vehicle market in the near future,” Geely said in its filing.

(Click Here for more about Volvo’s plans to be half electric.)

Geely Chairman Li Shufu has also been active overseas, expanding his automotive empire. After his purchase of Volvo Cars from Ford Motor Co., he purchased stakes in the iconic British sports-car maker Lotus and in February this year, he disclosed a 9.7% stake in Daimler AG, emerging as the largest shareholder in the maker of Mercedes-Benz, much to the discomfort of Daimler AG’s senior management.

Geely Chairman Li Shufu purchased 9.7% of Daimler AG for $9.2 billion, and expects to partner with them on electrification.

The company will start selling its Lynk & Co cars in Europe soon, marking its global foray, Chief Executive Officer Gui Shengyue told reporters in Hong Kong this week and plans to sell the vehicles in Europe by 2020.

“We have a real product to go global now,” he said.

Although cuts in subsidies for electric vehicles and the tariff war between the world’s biggest economies will weigh on industry sales in the second half, Geely still expects to build on the momentum from the first half, it said.

(To see more about Geely’s moves with Volvo, Click Here.)

Chinese car sales slumped for a second consecutive month in July as a slowing economy and a tit-for-tat trade war with the U.S. kept consumers away from showrooms. Retail sales of cars, SUVs and multipurpose vehicles fell 5.4% to 1.6 million units in July, the China Passenger Car Association said. That compares with a 3.7% drop in June, trimming the year-to-date growth in the world’s biggest automobile market to 2%.

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