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Executive swap fuels talk of Chinese auto megamerger

Beijing could create national champion to compete for electric-car dominance

Xu Liuping, left, moves from China Changan Automobile Industry (Group) to peer FAW Group.

CHONGQING/GUANGZHOU -- A reshuffle of top officials has prompted speculation that China may engineer a merger among a trio of major state-owned automakers, creating a single giant with the scale to lead the industry's global transition.

Xu Liuping -- chairman of defense company China South Industries Group, which has China Changan Automobile Industry (Group) under its umbrella -- becomes chairman of FAW Group in a move announced Wednesday. He switches roles with Xu Ping, who will also lead Changan, of which Chongqing Changan Automobile is a core group member.

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