Kia's first City Store in China is located in a central business district in Xi'an, and its all-electric EV6 will be one of the first models to be showcased at the store.

(Image credit: Kia)

Kia Motors, an affiliate of Hyundai Motor, is stepping up its efforts in the Chinese electric vehicle (EV) market, and while it's too early to tell how effective the move will be, it's at least a positive start.

Kia's first City Store in China opened in Xi'an, Shaanxi province in northwest China, and its all-electric EV6 will be one of the first models displayed at the store, the company announced on November 20.

The City Store is a new channel for Kia's electrification transformation and a new platform to revolutionize the user experience, the company said.

Kia's first such store in China was built in the heart of Xi'an's central city district, in a local Wangfujing department store, similar to the showrooms in malls of EV makers such as and .

The EV6 is Kia's first all-electric vehicle, based on the electrification-specific platform E-GMP, and claims to be able to accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in as fast as 3.5 seconds.

The model has 800V fast charging capability, charging from 10 percent to 80 percent in just 18 minutes, according to information previously announced by the company.

The Kia EV6 will be available in China in 2023, a statement from the company said yesterday, adding that more models will enter its City Store in the future.

It is the latest move by the South Korean carmaker to step up its efforts in China's EV market, where it unveiled its New Kia strategic plan in late August on the first day of the Chengdu auto show, with the intention of rebranding in China.

Kia plans to launch 1-2 electric vehicles in China each year starting in 2023, expanding its EV lineup to 6 models by 2027.

Kia's products used to be popular in China during the internal combustion engine car era, but with the EV era fast approaching, the company has so far not begun to offer Chinese consumers any EV offerings.

In fact, Kia is not the only brand that has been slow to move in China's EV market, as other mainstream joint venture brands have largely done so.

In terms of retail sales, the penetration of new energy vehicles (NEVs) in China reached 30.2 percent in October, according to data released earlier this month by the China Passenger Car Association (CPCA).

That rate was 52.9 percent for local brands and 13.6 percent for luxury car brands, compared with just 4.6 percent for mainstream joint venture brands.