From left: Li Keqiang, Angela Merkel, Martin WinterkornGermany/China – The extension of the two companies’ existing partnership until 2041, witnessed in Berlin by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, is intended to “significantly expand” R&D activities in the country and enable a move into new business areas including alternative drivetrain technologies.

“Together with its strong partners, Volkswagen is focusing on innovation, eco-friendly technologies and excellently trained employees in China. Today’s agreements pave the way for the sustainable development of China’s automotive industry and for the Volkswagen Group and its joint ventures to benefit from growth," said Martin Winterkorn, chairman of the board of management of Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft.

A further agreement was a joint memorandum with the Chinese Ministry of Education for co-operation in vocational training. A total of nine centres of competence will be established according to German training principles, with specialisations in tooling, automation technology, bodyshell technology and automotive technology. Two of the centres have already been set up in Changchun and Yizheng.

These latest announcements follow an agreement with FAW in July to expand production capacity by building two new plants in Qingdao and Tianjin.

Meanwhile, with its other joint venture partner, SAIC, VW has agreed to establish a €100m proving ground in Xinjiang to test models for Shanghai Volkswagen (SVW). The facility will be constructed south-east of the Urumqi plant commissioned in 2013.