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BMW’s design chief, Adrian van Hooydonk (center), discusses details of the Vision ConnectedDrive concept (Photo: BMW)

BMW, stepping up its activities in China, said it has opened a Connected Drive lab and a design studio in Shanghai.

The German premium car maker said its Connected Drive lab will allow key development initiatives to be directly linked to Asian markets.

Alexis Trolink, who heads the Shanghai facility, said in a press release that the city provides strong impulses for new mobility and key technologies of the future. After a short ramp-up phase, he said, the lab is launching "the first innovative functions designed by Chinese engineers especially for Chinese customers."

BMW already has development centers at its headquarters in Munich and in Mountain View, California.

The new Shanghai lab will focus on developing ConnectedDrive functions in the areas of convenience, infotainment and safety - especially for Chinese customers.

The design studio is part of BMW's DesignworksUSA subsidiary, a California-based design and creative consultancy that serves as a source of inspiration for BMW and its Mini and Rolls Royce brands.

Said BMW Group design director Adrian van Hooydonk: "Creating this foothold for BMW Group Design and DesignworksUSA in Shanghai is of great importance from both strategic and creative standpoints."