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General Motors Corp. said it will move its Asia-Pacific head office to Shanghai to be closer to the world’s fastest growing car market and build a $250 million testing ground in the city.

The world’s largest carmaker, which two weeks ago unveiled a plan to invest $3 billion in China, will shift its main office from Singapore, Chief Executive Officer Rick Wagoner told a press briefing in Shanghai. The facility for testing safety and road handling will be the company’s largest outside Michigan.

“Establishing our regional headquarters in Shanghai recognizes how important China has become to our plans,” Wagoner said. “Having a strong presence in this dynamic and growing market is not an option anymore; it’s a necessity.”

GM, Ford Motor Co., Volkswagen AG and Toyota Motor Co.p. have announced plans in the past eight months to invest about $10 billion in China, the world’s fastest-growing automotive market. The Detroit-based company’s first-quarter profit in the Asia-Pacific region almost quadrupled to $275 million, contributing 21 percent of its total global income.

GM has been investing in China, South Korea, Thailand and other Asian countries, where economic expansion is fueling demand, as competition increases in the U.S.

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