Samsung will reportedly purchase a 4 percent stake in Chinese electric car maker BYD.

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According to Reuters, Samsung confirmed late last week that it was in talks about purchasing a holding in Chinese automaker BYD. The Korean company will purchase its stake through a share offering that BYD is using to raise around US$2.4 billion ($3.2 billion) in cash.

A report in the Korea Economic Daily said that Samsung would spend around 3 billion yuan ($590 million) for a 4 percent stake in BYD. Neither BYD nor Samsung have confirmed this report.

Samsung denied that its investment in BYD would include a battery supply deal.

"This investment will strengthen our chip business for electric cars. We'll continue to expand our partnership with BYD in various sectors," Samsung told The Wall Street Journal in statement.

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Above and top: BYD E6.

According to the business daily, sales of electric cars in China quadrupled last year to around 331,000 vehicles, thanks to government incentives and subsidies.

BYD, which is based in Xian, China, focusses on electric vehicles and batteries. In 2008, Warren Buffet's investment firm Berkshire Hathaway purchased a 10 percent stake in the car maker for around US$230 million ($300 million).

Since April this year, the BYD E6 electric people mover has been available to Australian taxi and hire-car companies for around $80,000.

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Above: Renault Samsung SM3 Neo.

This isn't the first time that Samsung has waded into the world of car making. In 1994, it launched Samsung Motors with high hopes of taking on Hyundai, Kia, Daewoo, Ssangyong, and the rest of the automaking world.

Starting off with a series of rebadged Nissan vehicles, the company was soon hit by the 1998 Asian financial crisis. In 2000 Renault bought a controlling stake in the fledging car maker and renamed the automaker Renault Samsung.