GE Renewable Energy on Tuesday started construction in China of its first offshore wind assembly plant in Asia, which will produce the world's largest turbine, the 12MW Haliade-X.

The 71,000 sq metre factory in China’s southern city of Jieyang, Guangdong province, is expected to start to manufacture the Haliade-X in the second half of 2021, according to a statement by the US group.

GE is among the first group of manufacturers to commit to investing and building factories in Jiayang’s Linggang Industry Park, its offshore wind manufacturing hub, to back the city’s ambition to install 13.8GW by 2030.

“China is likely to become the world’s largest offshore wind market,” Rachel Duan president & CEO of GE China said. “By building this industry-leading factory, we hope to facilitate Guangdong province and China’s largest-scale offshore wind vision.”

Last year Chinese local governments collectively approved over 40GW of projects, of which most hope to connect to the grid by the end of 2021. Most ambitious of all, Guangdong set out a plan to build 66.9GW by 2030.

Besides the factory, GE is also launching an offshore wind operation and development center in Guangzhou, the capital city of Guangdong. The duo will become a base for the turbine maker to expand its offshore wind footprint in the Asia Pacific region, the company statement said.

Since last year, the US group has made a speedy inroad into the Chinese wind market. Just days before the construction, the manufacturer scored an onshore turbine deal with China Huaneng to provide 286 turbines of 2.5MW to a Henan-based wind farm in the largest order for a western turbine maker to date .