Nissan Motor Co's new Leaf, the latest version of the world's top selling electric vehicle. Photo: Reuters/Kim Kyung-Hoon

Following an official announcement on Friday that new policy on foreign investment in the electric vehicle industry will be introduced this month, Bloomberg reported Monday that automakers have been briefed on the proposals.

The plan, which has not been finalized, could be put in place as early as next year and would represent a landmark shift in China’s policy in the industry. Existing rules require foreign firms to set up joint ventures and prohibit owning a more-than-50% stake.

China has already been opening up access to carmakers in free trade zones and has allowed 100%-owned motorcycle and manufacturing operations since January 2016.

“We are encouraged by any discussion of market opening,” US Chamber of Commerce China Center President Jeremie Waterman told Bloomberg. “But we hope future openings in autos will reflect the same level of unencumbered access that Chinese companies enjoy in the United States, Europe and other key markets across all auto manufacturing options.”