(Bloomberg) -- China raised its 2025 sales target for electrified cars as the government tries to spur an industry that’s showing signs of slowing down.

The country wants about 25% of new cars sold by 2025 to be electrified, according to a draft policy published by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology on Tuesday. Its last roadmap on the industry announced in 2017 called for new energy vehicles -- all-electric, fuel-celled autos and plugin hybrids -- to make up more than 20% of vehicle sales by 2025.

Though demand for electrified vehicles rose rapidly in recent years in China, they still only account for a about 5% of automobile sales in the country. And EV sales have now been dropping for four consecutive months after the government scaled back subsidies.

The target signals electric cars remain a priority for the government as it wants to combat pollution and reduce reliance on imported oil. Still, regulators continue to face pressure to reduce handouts as state support fueled concerns about a bubble in the industry.

In a previous version of a new draft policy earlier this year, the government called for electrified vehicles to account for 60% of sales by 2035, according to people familiar with the matter. In the latest draft, a percentage goal for 2035 was omitted. Instead, it said that pure electric cars will become mainstream by that year, fuel cell autos will be widely available and all vehicles used by the utility sector will be powered by electricity.

“There are always uncertainties in technology breakthroughs and it is more prudent to set a target for a closer time frame, like we see here,” said Cui Dongshu, secretary general of China Passenger Car Association, an industry body. “Demand for new energy vehicle may recover over the next two years and the 2025 target set in the policy seems reasonable.”

China’s auto market is experiencing a prolonged slump that has dragged down the global EV sector, as the country accounts for about half of the world’s sales of electric cars.

To contact Bloomberg News staff for this story: Tian Ying in Beijing at ytian@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Young-Sam Cho at ycho2@bloomberg.net, Ville Heiskanen

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