It's Chinese good fortune cookies all round for US car giant General Motors as it announces strong sales in this market for the first six months of 2004.

Almost 260,000 GM vehicles were sold in China during this period, up 58% from last year and building on the $437 million (€353.4m; £235.1m) netted from Chinese auto sales in 2003.

The good performance of Shanghai General Motors (a joint venture between GM and Shanghai Automotive Industry) has contributed to its success, with sales up by a sizzling 92%.

Hoping to maintain its powerful position, GM plans a $3bn expansion for the Chinese market, with a new auto financing venture, increased production for vehicles and engines and improved research and development.

GM's success contrasts with the gloomier picture for China's auto market as a whole. Passenger car sales during January-May this year were up just 38%, a far cry from last year's 75% growth.

Data sourced from: The Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff