General Motors Corp (GM) sold a total of 814,442 units from January to June in China, a record for any half-year, the company said in a statement on Wednesday.

GM sold more than 100,000 vehicles a month in China in January-June for a total of 814,442, a 38% jump in the first half of this year, while annual sales of 2008 totaled 1,094,561 in China.

Strong growth in China and other emerging markets is crucial for GM's recovery as it works to emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy back in the United States. While GM has slashed jobs and closed factories back home, it is still expanding in China.

The company saw sales surging by 75% year-on-year to 156,000 vehicles in May in China's market.

Its minivan joint venture Shanghai General Motors Wuling (SGMW) sold 100,258 units last month, while another venture, Shanghai GM's sales rose to 60,365 units in June, an all-time monthly record.

China had become the world's largest auto market, as both output and sales of China's domestically made automobiles in May exceeded 1.10 million units, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM).

China's vehicle market continued to outpace most expectations for growth, said Kevin Wale, GM's China Group president and managing director. We continued to enjoy strong demand for many of our existing products and new models.

According to Wales, GM's eight joint ventures are sticking to their target of doubling sales from 2008 to about 2 million within the next five years.

A total of 10.2 million vehicles are expected to be sold in China this year, up 8.7% year on year.