BEIJING, Feb. 18 (Xinhua) -- Sales of new energy vehicles (NEVs) in China will continue to see "handsome growth" this year despite a plunge in January sales, an official said Friday.
"Car makers are increasing research and development with more investment, and an array of new products will hit the market this year," Miao Wei, minister of industry and information technology, said at a press conference.
China sold 507,000 NEVs last year, the most in the world for a second year and up 53 percent from 2015, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers.
However, sales plunged 74.4 percent in January, as the government tightened subsidy policies after discovering that some companies were cheating on subsidies.
Earlier this month, the ministry suspended the rights of seven NEV manufacturers to recommend models for subsidies, punishing them for cheating.
The government plans to cut subsidies on NEVs by 20 percent in 2017-2018 from the 2016 level before phasing them out by 2020.
"Development of China's NEV market is keeping up with global development," according to Miao, adding that subsidies granted in the initial stage have been invaluable.
The ministry will continue to adjust subsidy policies with the finance ministry, raise the threshold for corporate and product entry, and enhance online supervision over NEV sales and use, Miao said.