Tesla Inc. will start exporting Model 3 cars made at its gigafactory on the outskirts of Shanghai to Europe from later this month, the automaker said in a statement sent via WeChat.

The car will be shipped to more than 10 countries, including Germany, France and Switzerland, Tesla said. The company’s Shanghai factory -- its first outside the U.S. -- opened for local deliveries at the start of this year.

“We hope to serve global customers as a global factory,” Tesla’s manufacturing director of the Shanghai gigafactory, Song Gang, said in an interview with local reporters. “The export of China-built Tesla models is a key step in the global layout.”

The Shanghai factory has helped Tesla expand in China, and the company has said it has capacity to produce 200,000 vehicles a year from there. It delivered nearly 11,000 locally-built cars in China in September.

Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk announced at an event in Germany last November that Tesla also plans to set up a factory and an engineering-and-design center near Berlin.

People familiar with the matter said last month that Tesla plans to ship cars made at its Shanghai factory to other countries in Asia and Europe, shifting its strategy for the plant to largely focus on supplying the Chinese market.

China-built Model 3s for delivery outside the country likely will start mass production in the fourth quarter, the people said at the time, adding that the markets targeted included Singapore, Australia and New Zealand, as well as Europe.