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SEOUL, South Korea (AP) -- South Korea's second-largest carmaker, Kia Motors Corp., said Thursday that it will build a $645 million automobile manufacturing plant in China's eastern province of Jiangsu by 2006.

Kia said it will break ground in July for the new plant -- its second in China -- which will eventually produce 300,000 cars annually.

"The decision to build the plant was based on creating a stronger presence in China that will help claim an increased portion of the large Chinese car market that is predicted to grow to 10 million by 2010," Kia said.

The company had said in December that it would double annual production capacity at its existing Chinese plant to 100,000 vehicles by the end of June. The plant is operated by Dongfeng Yeuda Kia Motor Co., established in 2002 as a joint venture with China's Dongfeng Motor Co.

Dongfeng Yueda Kia Motor increased its share of the Chinese auto market to 2.4 percent last year, from 1.6 percent in 2002.

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