From Market Watch:
The China Banking Regulatory Commission has approved Banco Santander SA (NYSE:SAN) and Chinese automobile manufacturer Anhui Jianghuai Automobile Co. to operate a joint auto-financing company in the Chinese market, the Spanish bank said Sunday.
Santander, which is already a leading car financier in Europe and the U.S., said the deal allows it to gain a foothold in the largest car market in the world: roughly 19 million cars were sold in China in 2012, compared with an estimated 14.4 million in the U.S. and 12 million in the European Union.
The venture, Fortune Auto Finance Co., will offer car-financing services for other brands, not only for cars manufactured and sold by Anhui Jianghuai. The car maker, better known as JAC, sells cars through more than 1,000 dealers across mainland China.
“For Santander, participation in Fortune represents a potentially large source of growth and will give us very valuable on-the-ground experience in lending in China,” said Juan San Roman, regional head of the Santander group’s development in Asia.
JAC sold roughly 448,000 cars in 2012. The two companies first said they were setting up the joint venture in December 2011.