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Chinese automaker to open headquarters in downtown L.A.

April 29, 2010 |  7:55 pm
A Chinese automaker that produces hybrid electric vehicles is expected to announce Friday that it will be opening a headquarters in downtown Los Angeles, creating jobs at a time when the city is facing a severe economic crisis. Picture 2

Executives from BYD Co. are expected to be joined by officials including Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger at a City Hall news conference Friday announcing details of the plan.

BYD, or Build Your Dreams, is expected to establish its headquarters in the Figueroa auto corridor near Staples Center, an area where the city has invested redevelopment funds to help create jobs.

Although it is unclear how many jobs will be created by the initiative, officials on Thursday hailed the move as an economic boon for an up-and-coming downtown business zone.

"It's wonderful that BYD has decided to invest in this promising business corridor," said Councilwoman Jan Perry, whose district includes the area.

BYD was once known for making cellphone batteries. But in 2008, it began selling its F3DM -- China's first mass-produced hybrid electric vehicle.

The announcement also comes at a time when Villaraigosa has accelerated efforts to create green jobs in Los Angeles. Indeed, an invite for the event describes the firm as a "Global Cleantech Company."

-- Robert J. Lopez

Photo: Invitation to Friday's news conference.