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Developing Economies

Maybe China Will Revive GM

Buick, Beijing style (AP Photo/ Elizabeth Dalziel) hide caption

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(AP Photo/ Elizabeth Dalziel)

GM said today that it lost $4.3 billion in the second half of last year, after it emerged from bankruptcy. The CFO also said (yet again) that the company may turn a profit this year.

If GM does start making money again, China will deserve a big piece of the credit.

In the fourth quarter last year, GM sold more cars in the developing world than it sold in North America and Europe.

That was driven largely by China, where the company's sales rose by 67% last year. So far this year, GM has sold more cars in China than in the U.S.

This isn't just some weird GM thing: Last year, China passed the U.S. to become the world's biggest car market (that's largest number of cars, not total sales revenue).

GM clearly recognizes this shift. When it came out of bankruptcy last year, the company moved the headquarters of its international operations unit to Shanghai.