China to Grant Licenses to Electric-Car Manufacturers

China will issue manufacturing licenses to makers of electric cars to spur their adoption after sales lagged behind a national target.

The permits will allow companies to only produce electric cars, according to a statement posted on the National Development and Reform Commission’s website. To qualify, applicants must possess expertise in designing, testing and assembling electric cars, including patents and intellectual property rights to core technology.

China, which is promoting the use of electric vehicles to reduce its reliance on imported oil and cut tailpipe pollution, is experimenting with allowing companies outside of manufacturing industries to develop electric vehicles as a way to spur innovation and competition.

The initiative takes place at a time Silicon Valley companies from Apple Inc and Google Inc. to Uber Technologies Inc. are getting into transportation, exploring everything from cars and drones to space-ships, and pioneering new business models.

The policy takes effect on July 10.

— With assistance by Ying Tian

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