Daimler AG has officially announced that China’s BAIC Group now owns an equity interest of approximately 5% in the German company, further cementing the partnership between both companies that has existed since 2003.

“We are very pleased that our long-standing partner BAIC is now a long-term investor in Daimler,” said Ola Källenius, chairman of the board of management of Daimler AG and head of Mercedes-Benz Cars.

“This step reinforces our successful partnership and is a signal of trust in the strategy and future potential of our company. The Chinese market is and remains a crucial pillar of our success – not only for sales, but also for our product development and production,” he added.

Over the years, the two companies have cooperated in the production, research and development, and the sale of passenger cars, vans and trucks. Daimler currently holds a 9.55% stake in BAIC since it first invested in the company in 2013, as well as a 3.01% interest in BAIC BluePark New Energy Technology.

Even with the investment, BAIC is not the largest shareholder in Daimler, as that honour goes to Zhejiang Geely Holding founder Li Shufu, who has a 9.69% stake.