Audi's digital showroom in Beijing is the first of its kind in Asia (Photo: Audi)

Audi opened a new r&d center as well as a digital showroom in China, underscoring the importance of the world's largest auto market to the German premium car brand.

The Volkswagen Group subsidiary opened its first digital Audi showroom in Asia in Beijing last week, exporting a new sales model that it plans to introduce worldwide. Last year, it opened a digital showroom in London. Next on the list is Berlin.

"With Audi City Beijing, we bring a new exclusive and futuristic brand experience right to the midst of the urban lives of the people in Beijing,” said Luca de Meo, head of sales and marketing.

The new facility uses media technology to show a wide range of Audi models and let potential customers digitally configure the cars to their liking. The 2,100 square meter showroom is two stories high and has space for 14 cars as well as cultural events and exhibitions.

Audi's new r&d center is also located in Beijing. The opening marks a deepening of cooperation with the brand's Chinese partner FAW-Volkswagen and also moves more r&d to the fast-growing market.

"The new Audi r&d center Asia is an important milestone in the internationalization of our innovation capacities," Audi CEO Rupert Stadler said in a press release.

Audi's Chinese sales jumped 29.6 pc in 2012 to 405,838 cars.