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International relations

German leader juggles China policy, balancing profits and principles

Washington and Beijing in tug-of-war over key European heavyweight

The first BMW iX3 comes off the production line at BMW Brilliance Automotive in Shenyang, China. The joint venture employs 20,000 people in northeastern China. (Photo courtesy of BMW)

NEW YORK -- For 14 consecutive years, BMW's joint venture in China has been the top taxpayer in the northeastern city of Shenyang. Employing more than 20,000 people and fed by 400 suppliers, the two plants in the capital of Liaoning Province constitute the German automaker's largest production base in the world.

Last year cemented the importance of Shenyang and the Chinese market for the Bavarian company. Several years ago, China overtook the U.S. as BMW's top market. In 2021, that gap widened, with China accounting for a record 846,237 BMW and Mini vehicles delivered. Those figures towered over the 336,644 units delivered in the U.S. and the 267,917 units in the company's home market of Germany.

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