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General Motors' Earnings From Ventures in China Triple in 2003

March 16 (Bloomberg) -- General Motors Corp., the world's largest automaker, said its profit from joint ventures in China more than tripled to $437 million last year as the company's market share in that nation increased.

Profit from the Chinese ventures, led by Shanghai General Motors, increased from $142 million in 2002, the automaker said in an annual report filed with U.S. regulators last week. The U.S. company also said its loss from affiliates in South Korea widened to $74 million from $45 million in 2002.

Market share in China rose to 8.5 percent last year from 7.8 percent the previous year and has more than doubled from 4.1 percent in 2001, Detroit-based General Motors said.

General Motors is counting on investments in China, which became the company's fourth-biggest vehicle market last year, and South Korea to help boost earnings to $10 a share by 2006. Profit from its Asia-Pacific vehicle operations last year rose threefold to $577 million while automotive income in North America, its biggest region, fell 73 percent to $811 million.

General Motors also said profit from ventures in Japan, where it owns stakes in Suzuki Motor Corp. and Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd., rose 47 percent to $196 million. Earnings from a powertrain joint venture with Italy's Fiat SpA increased 19 percent to $95 million, General Motors said.

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