Nissan's sales in China, the world's second-largest car market, grew 19 per cent in 2008 to 545,000 units, beating a 7 per cent rise in the overall passenger car market.
Nissan's local 50-50 venture with Dongfeng Motor Group, called Dongfeng Motor Co, sold 708,000 cars, light commercial vehicles and medium and heavy-duty trucks last year, up 16 per cent from 2007.
The joint venture last year kicked off a five-year business plan with a goal of selling 1 million vehicles in 2012.
China is one of the few remaining bright spots in the car industry, although car sales growth slowed to a single digit last year for the first time in at least 10 years as consumer confidence waned with a slowing economy. Demand in the developed markets of North America, Europe and Japan have been falling by double-digit percentages as the global recession spreads.
Chinese car sales in January fell 8 per cent but improved from the previous month, bolstered by government incentives.
Nissan, in which France's Renault SA holds a 44 per cent stake, said on Monday it would keep open all of its car plants worldwide in anticipation of an eventual car market recovery led by growth in China and other emerging markets.
The joint venture, Dongfeng Motor Co is projecting annual sales of 100 billion yuan ($14.6 billion; Dh54 billion) by 2012, up from 59.32 billion yuan in 2007.
Nissan shares ended the morning session in Tokyo down 1.8 per cent at 275 yen, outperforming the Nikkei 225 stock average, which dropped 2.3 per cent.