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China's auto maker opens showroom in Nigeria

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LAGOS, Dec. 18 (Xinhua) -- Chinese automaker Guangzhou Automobile Company (GAC) has opened a showroom in Lagos, Nigeria's business hub in a bid to explore the market in Africa's most populous nation.

The showroom was officially opened on Wednesday by Aminu Jala, the Director General of National Automotive Council (NAC) and Li Yong, Deputy Consul General of Chinese Consulate General in Lagos.

At the opening ceremony, Jala said the auto industry in Nigeria desperately needed an overhaul after years of neglect. He told Xinhua that Nigeria had to embrace manufacturing as a means of restoring and strengthening the middle class.

He said a strong middle class is critical to Nigeria's growth and stability.

He urged manufacturers to produce cheaper cars that would enable more Nigerians to afford new vehicles.

The NAC boss disclosed that in order to improve the quality of cars, all vehicles imported into the country must have road worthiness certificate from their countries of origin.

Li Yong said at the opening ceremony that China was exploring other areas of cooperation with Nigeria. According to him, GAC's entry into the auto sector is a sign of the growing China-Nigeria relations.

Earlier, GAC'S chairperson in Nigeria, Diana Chen, said the launch of showroom in Lagos will help cement the existing strong ties between the two nations.

The new automotive policy which came into effect in 2013 seeks to encourage interested foreign car makers to set up assembly plants in Nigeria.

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