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 |  Sep 20 2011, 12:45 PM

It’s no secret that the Chinese have been eyeing up General Motors‘ technological expertise when it comes to vehicles like the Chevy Volt (pictured above).

Now it appears that GM and SAIC Motor Corp in Shanghai have decided to set up a joint venture to further EV development, with the Pan Asia Technical Automotive Center (PATAC) serving as the hub for development of new vehicle technologies and architecture.

According to an official press release from the General, ‘the agreement will leverage SAIC’s market knowledge and local expertise along with GM’s expertise in electric vehicle development and global know-how. It will ensure local input in the development of electric vehicle technology and the delivery of products developed in China.’

Tim Lee, president of GM’s International Operations believes that this latest joint venture, which builds on partnerships established by the U.S. auto giant and SAIC for 15 years, represents a broad range of benefits made possible by the commitment of the two companies in this venture, as well as representing an “unprecedented level of cooperation.”

Given current political pressure around the world to produce still cleaner, more efficient vehicles, the joint venture between GM and SAIC to develop electric vehicles may seem like a match made in heaven. In China, cars developed from this venture will be sold through SAIC and Shanghai GM, while in other markets both automakers plan to use the architecture to build and market cars and trucks.

However, some industry pundits predict that the partnership will ultimately benefit SAIC more than GM, given that both car makers plan to sell EVs in different markets around the world, which could lead to them competing directly against each other. It’ll be interesting to see how things unfold.