More than 10 international and Chinese automobile enterprises signed contracts with Shanghai International Automobile City to enter its Auto Research and Development Harbor on Wednesday. With an investment of 1.5 billion yuan (238 million U.S. dollars), the Auto R&D Harbor covers an area of 186 mu (12.4 hectare), in which 120 independent research and development houses are planned to be built. The schedule for the completion of center's construction is 18 months. The center is expected to house 150 companies, mainly focusing on middle-sized research companies to provide research and design services for automobile companies. The first batch of signed companies include Italy's car design firm Pininfarina and Canada's KSR International Co., as well as China's Shenzhen Hangsheng Electronics Co. Ltd and Chongqing Chaoli Hi-tech Co., Ltd. Pininfarina will build up a research and development team of more than 100 people in the harbor in the next few years to provide more direct services for Chinese auto companies, said Francesco Motta, general manager of Pininfarina China. Shanghai International Automobile City is an integrated automobile industry base, combining 15 public research and development platforms, 12 enterprises headquarters and 65 auto research center and more than 10,000 researchers.