Looks like it’s down to one. According to the South China Morning Post, Chinese automaker Zhejiang Geely has withdrawn from its bid to acquire a controlling stake in Proton. Geely president An Conghui told the publication earlier today that it had pulled out of negotiations with the national automaker to become its foreign strategic partner (FSP).

The report said that An did not elaborate on the reasons for the decision, but earlier this month, the Chinese carmaker’s chairman Li Shufu had indicated that Geely – which was considered by many to be the favourite to seal the deal – was planning to pull its bid due to DRB-Hicom’s indecision regarding the partnership.

The announcement of Geely’s withdrawal from the chase means that Groupe PSA remains as the leading – and thus far, the only known – contender to become Proton’s partner. The French company confirmed it submitted a bid for a partnership with Proton, announcing last month it was in talks with the Malaysian carmaker for a deal.

Securing a partnership with Proton would allow the French automaker access to Proton’s underutilised facilities as a production and export base, expanding the company’s presence in the South East Asian region.

A Proton-Geely deal would have offered the Chinese carmaker the same, as well as the ability to break into right-hand-drive (RHD) markets, tapping that route via Proton. Sources had indicated that Geely promised DRB-Hicom some of the latest vehicle technologies it has developed with Volvo’s input as part of the deal.

Earlier today, it was announced that there would be the possibility that Proton might follow Perodua’s path by allowing its FSP to have a 51% equity stake in the company.