The plan was expected to be approved by the SEPTA Board meeting Thursday, March 23.
The Authority has seen ridership grow by 52% since 2000.
Hyundai produced Silverliner V cars for SEPTA at a plant in South Philadelphia, but the agency temporarily pulled those cars from service for repairs in 2016 due to defective parts.
For the China order, SEPTA will bring in EWI, formerly the Edison Welding Institute, to supervise construction. The coach shells will be produced in China.
The Chinese company is building an assembly plant in Springfield, Mass., where it is also will build cars for Boston’s MBTA.
Delivery of the SEPTA cars is expected to begin in the fall of 2019.