Ford launching electric car venture with Chinese partner Zotye

Ford is betting big on electric cars...in China.

The automaker has announced it is forming a $750 million joint venture with Chinese automaker Anhui Zotye to build battery-powered cars for sale in China. The country is currently the world's largest market for electric cars.

Zotye already sells a line of electric cars, including the the two-seat E200, which sells for under $9,000 after deducting local incentives.

The partnership will likely operate undre a new brand name.

Sales of pure-electric and gasoline-electric hybrids in China rose 50 percent last year over 2015 to 336,000 vehicles, or 40 percent of global demand. U.S. sales totaled 159,620.

Beijing has supported sales with subsidies and a planned quota system that would require automakers to produce electric cars or buy credits from companies that do.

Ford said it expects China's market for all-electrics and hybrids to grow to annual sales of 6 million by 2025. The company said previously that it plans to offer electric versions of 70 percent of its models sold in China by 2025.

Daimler AG's Mercedes Benz makes electric cars with a Chinese partner. Other global automakers including General Motors Co. and Volkswagen AG have announced or are exploring similar ventures.

Volvo Cars, owned by China's Geely Holding, says it will produce electric cars in China for global sale starting in 2019.

The Associated Press contributed to this report