SEOUL, April 15 (Yonhap) — Hyundai Motor Group said Thursday it will launch more than 20 electric models in China by 2030 as it is struggling to revive sales in the world’s biggest automobile market.

Hyundai Motor Co. and affiliate Kia Corp. will gradually launch 21 hydrogen fuel-cell electric and other electrified vehicles, including the Hyundai IONIQ 5 and the Kia EV8, in China starting next year to gain a share in the Chinese electric vehicle market, the group said in a statement.

The carmakers have suffered weak sales in China in recent years due to the lingering impact of a diplomatic dispute between Seoul and Beijing over the deployment of a U.S. anti-missile system in South Korea in 2017.

To make inroads into the Chinese hydrogen vehicle market, the group plans to build its first overseas hydrogen fuel-cell systems plant in China by next year.

In March, the group began construction of the HTWO Gwangzhou hydrogen fuel-cell systems plant with an aim to initially produce 6,500 units a year starting in 2023. The HTWO Gwangzhou plant will be wholly owned by the Korean automotive group.

Hyundai expects demand for hydrogen fuel-cell systems to grow further in China, the world’s biggest automobile market, as the Chinese government seeks to provide 1 million hydrogen-powered vehicles by 2035.

In its broad hydrogen road map, Hyundai aims to produce 500,000 hydrogen vehicles and 700,000 hydrogen fuel-cell systems by 2030 to cement its leading status in global hydrogen vehicle markets.

Currently, Hyundai operates a domestic hydrogen fuel-cell systems plant. It also plans to build the plants in Europe and the United States.

In related efforts, Hyundai Motor plans to launch the Nexo hydrogen fuel-cell electric car in China later this year.

The maker of the Sonata sedan and the Palisade SUV also plans to introduce the high-end G80 sedan and the GV80 SUV under its independent Genesis brand in China this year.

Hyundai and Kia, which together form the world’s fifth-biggest carmaker by sales, will reduce the number of combustion engine vehicles in its Chinese lineup from 21 to 14 by 2025 to meet Chinese customers’ demands, the statement said.

This photo, provided by Hyundai Motor Group, shows the Hyundai IONIQ 5 and the Kia EV6 all-electric models at an online media event in China on April 15, 2021. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)