Hyundai showcases its fuel cell SUV at the Beijing auto show in September 2020. [Photo by Cao Yingying/Newsvase.com]

South Korea’s Hyundai Motor Group plans to establish its first overseas hydrogen fuel cell plant in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, this year in an effort to enter the growing hydrogen sector of the world’s largest auto market.

The carmaker has secured the South Korean government’s approval to produce hydrogen fuel cells in China, reported local Newspaper, Aju Business Daily, on Tuesday.

“Hyundai Motor is in talks with a Chinese company to form a joint venture for the construction of the plant. Hyundai is expected to announce the plant as early as this month,” Aju Business Daily quoted a person familiar with the matter as saying.

Last year, the carmaker said it plans to sell at least 27,000 fuel cell vehicles in China by 2030. It will scale up production capacity to 2,000 vehicles in 2021 to expand its presence in such markets as Europe and China.

Hyundai has been a supporter of hydrogen fuel cell technology. The company aims to sell 700,000 hydrogen fuel cells on the global market by 2030. In December, the company launched a fuel cell system branded HTWO.

The carmaker said last year that it will introduce its Nexo, a fuel cell crossover SUV, into China in 2021 for trial operation and launch medium-duty trucks in the country starting from 2022.

According to the New Energy Vehicle Industry Development Plan (2021-35) released by China’s State Council in early November, the country will focus on building up the fuel cell supply chain and developing hydrogen-powered trucks and buses.

China plans to have 1 million hydrogen fuel cell vehicles on the road by 2030, with at least 1,000 hydrogen refueling stations, according to an energy vehicle development plan drafted by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.