CHINA // The government of China is investing billions into developing electric and hybrid vehicles in a bid to become the world leader in green technology. Already the world's largest and fastest growing auto market, it plans to have more than one million of the environmentally friendly cars on the road within the next few years. Some 16 state-owned companies have already agreed to form an alliance to research and develop the technology, according to The New York Times. "The government could easily underwrite or subsidise the development costs," Oded Shenkar, a professor of management at Ohio State University and the author of The Chinese Century, told the newspaper. "And do it at a time when the global car industry is still reeling." Few details of the plan have been released, but it has been reported that Beijing aims to get 500,000 energy-efficient vehicles onto the market every year for the next three years, and that energy-efficient vehicles would soon account for five per cent of passenger car sales in China. This year, analysts expect vehicle sales in China to reach around 17 million.