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Aipu Opens up Used-car Dealership
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China's first second-hand auto trader Aipu announced the debut of its flagship store in Beijing's Changping district with the help of its soon-to-be Japanese partner.


The company, wholly owned by Chinese investments, is now working on officially aligning itself with Japanese-based Apple Auto Network Co Ltd.


It is awaiting approval from the Ministry of Commerce to grant the investment from the Japanese firm.


"Being a joint venture, I believe Aipu will provide more and better service to the second-hand vehicles industry here in the China market," said Guo Jiyuan, president of Aipu.


He told China Daily the joint venture would be finalized, "within this year."


"We see great potential here in China's second-hand market," said Shigeaki Hashimoto, president and chief executive officer of Apple Auto Network Co Ltd, one of the three largest used-car trading companies in Japan.


According to Hashimoto, the new cars sales volume in Japan and China last year hit 5.4 million and 5.73 million.


The second-hand sedans trading volume hovered around 3 million and 1.35 million respectively in the two countries.


He also predicted the second-hand car business would double or triple this year in China.


Hashimoto said he hopes "Apple of Japan will help Aipu be a well-branded and global network second-hand cars dealer."


Aipu aims to expand its network to all of China's major cities and counties in the next five years, by franchising, establishing 3,250 stores, said Guo.


The company was founded last April in Beijing, with a registered capital of more than 10 million yuan (US$1.24 million). There are now a total of five second-hand vehicles trading dealers in Beijing, according to Aipu.


(China Daily April 12, 2006)


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