Sharp rise in GM's China sales

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If only it were the United States. GM's sales in China rose 78 percent last month to 144,593, a record for the month for the American car company in that market. According toDow Jones, GM increased unit sales in the world's most populous country by 43 percent for the first seven months of 2009 to 959,035.

GM's China operations are quickly becoming the firm's most valuable asset. The U.S. government may want to keep that in mind as it looks for a way to get taxpayer money back. One of China's large car firms may be convinced to buy the unit, and the Chinese government certainly has the capital to fund a transaction.

GM will release July sales figures for the U.S. later today. They are expected to be down 20 percent from last year based on estimates fromEdmunds. As GM closes or sells a number of its brands, including Pontiac and Saturn, it will have plenty of trouble keeping domestic market share with hungry Japanese and Korean car companies pushing hard for increased sales and a larger piece of the American market.

GM's sales in China are so promising and its U.S. prospects so dismal that it may want to move its headquarters to Shanghai.

Douglas A. McIntyre is an editor at 24/7 Wall St.

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