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Yokohama announces joint venture in China

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Yokohama Rubber Co. Ltd. has teamed up with two Chinese companies to create a joint venture that will manufacture and market radial passenger tires for the Chinese market starting April 2003.

The Chinese companies involved in the deal, which is tentatively called Hangzhou Yokohama Tire Co. Ltd., are YHI Holdings Pte. Ltd. and Hangzhou Rubber (Group) Co.

However, Yokohama will take "the steering role" in the organization.

The first stage of production will see 750,000 tires a year contructed at a single plant, according to Yokohama officials. During the second stage, 1.5 million units will be made per year, "depending on the strength of market demand."

Both stages will require a total investment of $60 million.

"The new company will employ a small-lot production system being developed by Yokohama."

In the future, Yokohama plans to add several radial passenger car tire plants in China "in order to meet increasing local demand."

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