American International Group Inc. (AIG), the world's largest insurer, plans to buy a stake in Lifan Group, China's top motorcycle maker, Reuters news service reported Friday.
The terms and the size of the stake were not disclosed.
Lifan produces dirt bikes, street bikes and ATVs. Lifan motorcycles are exported to more than 100 countries, mostly in the developing world.
Lifan owner Yin Mingsha identified AIG as a potential investor to Reuters late last year and said he would sell no more than 20 percent of the company to outside investors; but the Shanghai Securities News reported earlier in the week that AIG planned to buy 25 percent of Lifan.
In a separate announcement Friday, Lifan China warned that counterfeiters are copying the company's bikes in the U.S., saying "These companies are misleading consumers to believe that they offer genuine Lifan bikes, when in fact they have a second-rate bike with defective parts, no warranty and no legal way to register their bikes within the United States."
The company cited a handful of websites as examples and states it is pursuing legal action. The only American company authorized to sell Lifan bikes is American Lifan Industry, the company warned, and asked anyone who hears of another U.S. source to report it to the American subsidiary.