JD Finance updated its business license on July 18， and CEO Liu Qiangdong’s wife， Zhang Zetian， was named to the board， according to Chinese news site Sohu。
General Motors Co has dismissed speculation its ties with China's SAIC Motor Corp are fraying, saying the partnership is thriving and the two car makers are discussing further collaboration in Indonesia.
Recent independent moves by SAIC outside China had been seen by some industry insiders and experts as signaling the two companies might be drifting apart, but GM's top China executive said it was merely a consequence of its state-owned partner's growing maturity as an automaker.
Sohu published the record of the change of JD’s license， which is not publicly available in China but did not disclose how it got the information。 A search on the website for the Chinese National Enterprise Credit Information Publicity System confirmed that Zhang Zetian is now on the board of JD Finance。
"The relationship between SAIC and GM has never been better," GM China Chairman Tim Lee said in an interview.
Within China, Lee and GM China President Bob Socia said sales by GM's joint ventures with SAIC and others were likely to grow this year by 300,000 to 3 million vehicles.
While this document did not give information as to when Zetian was appointed， it said that its business license was updated on July 18。
Roughly half of the volume would come from no-frills microvans GM produces with SAIC and another partner.
According to the two executives, GM plans to launch more new or significantly redesigned models in China next year, including a key small car update next year. It also plans to further grow exports of jointly designed and produced cars out of China.
JD sent out a press release on August 14 providing information about its second quarter earnings and other recent developments。 In that release， a reorganization of JD Finance was listed as a recent development。
To keep up with demand, GM China and SAIC are rushing to open four new plants - two along the country's prosperous east coast and another two in the middle western region of China to add an additional 1 million cars a year to capacity by 2015.
"It's a big bet" with SAIC, Lee said.
Named the youngest female billionaire in China， this 24-year-old has made 6 investments across various industries since 2014， including tech company Uber and Australian baby food company Bubs。 Zhang has frequently been spotted in training with top investment groups in China like ZhenFund and Sequoia investment。
Lee, who is also GM's global manufacturing chief, recently agreed to give up his broader responsibility as head of GM's international operations to focus just on China.
"The conclusion that (GM Chief Executive) Dan Akerson and the board came to was China is so important to us and the relationships within China are so important" that GM needed to have Lee focus on China, he said.
When Zhang was only a senior in college in 2014， Liu Qiangdong spent 10 million yuan （$1.5 million） to help her set up her first company “Jiang Su Zhang Zetian Cultural Development Co。， Ltd。”
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Despite the expansion in China, some industry experts have suggested a cooling of ties between GM and SAIC elsewhere.
Based on the registration information， the company’s business scope includes investment in the cultural industry， television production， and investment consulting。 Since 2016， JD has invested in over 26 companies。 This billionaire couple was dubbed the Mr。 & Mrs.Smith of capital investment。
In 2010, SAIC became a 50-50 partner in GM's operations in India, jointly selling Wuling microvans under the Chevrolet badge. At the time, officials at the U.S. firm described the alliance as an ideal way to break into other emerging markets, pointing to Southeast Asia as a possible second target.
Last year, however, SAIC passed on an opportunity to inject more capital into the struggling operation, letting its stake decline to 9 percent. Moreover, SAIC also announced plans to start making cars in Thailand with local firm CP Group Co Ltd, in a deal that did not involve GM.