Sat, 23 Sep 2023

Tesla's Musk visits China, meets foreign minister

Robert Besser
03 Jun 2023, 14:54 GMT+10

BEIJING, China: On his return to China after a three year absence, which is his company's largest production hub, Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk began has b begun his visit with a meeting with Chinese foreign minister Qin Gang in Beijing.

The Chinese foreign ministry said that during their meeting, Qin told Musk that China was committed to improving the business environment for investors, including Tesla.

"We must step on the brake in time, avoid dangerous driving and be skillful at using the accelerator to promote mutually beneficial cooperation," Qin said.

He then quoted Musk as saying he was keen to expand business in China and opposed a decoupling of the American and Chinese economies.

China is Tesla's second-largest electric vehicle market, after the US.

Meanwhile, Reuters has reported that during his trip, Musk will meet other senior Chinese officials and visit Tesla's Shanghai plant, though it was not certain who he would meet or what issues they would discuss.

In March, Reuters reported that Musk had been planning a trip to China and aimed to meet with Chinese Premier Li Qiang.

Tesla faces intensifying competition from Chinese-made electric vehicles, and the expansion plans for Tesla's Shanghai plant are still uncertain.

Tesla's investors have questioned whether and by how much it will increase output in Shanghai, its largest global production site.

In a note to investors, Daniel Ives, analyst at investment firm Wedbush, said Tesla should "aggressively focus on building out its China footprint."

"Despite increasing competition, China's market for electric vehicles, the world's largest, has become the golden goose EV market," he added, noting that Tesla's Shanghai plant is "the heart and lungs" of the company's global production.

Since Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Chinese researchers have monitored Musk's space company, SpaceX, as well as the military applications of its Starlink satellite network, with interest and concern.

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