Table of Contents
Elon Musk and Other Business Leaders Emphasize Importance of Ties with China
Tesla CEO’s Visit to China
In his first visit to China since the pandemic, Tesla Inc.’s Elon Musk met with Foreign Minister Qin Gang in Beijing on Tuesday, where he emphasized the importance of maintaining ties with China. Musk said that Tesla opposes decoupling from China and is willing to keep expanding its business in the country. He is also expected to visit Tesla’s Shanghai factory and potentially meet Premier Li Qiang to discuss automated driving technology.
Other Business Leaders Also Stress Importance of Ties with China
Musk’s remarks echo sentiments expressed by other business leaders such as Apple Inc.’s Tim Cook, Mercedes-Benz Group AG’s Ola Källenius, and General Motors Co.’s Mary Barra. Källenius had previously said that unbundling from China is “an illusion,” while Cook had emphasized the symbiotic relationship between his company and China during a visit in March. Barra also recently said that China remains a key market for General Motors and that they plan to develop clean cars with local partners.
These comments are in contrast to efforts by political leaders like U.S. President Joe Biden and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz to exert greater influence over the trade of key components in an attempt to gain a geopolitical upper hand over Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Tesla’s Operations in China
Tesla’s Shanghai plant accounted for more than half its global production in 2022 and can now produce up to 1.1 million cars a year. However, shipments from the Shanghai facility have been lower than anticipated, despite the company dropping prices and exporting to new markets like Canada. Despite this, the automaker accounted for almost a quarter of Shanghai’s total automotive production value last year, and local authorities pledged to continue to boost ties with the company through automated driving and robot modules.
It was reported earlier this month that Tesla was nearing the start of trial production for its revamped Model 3 in Shanghai, which Musk is betting will compete more effectively with Chinese rivals. The refreshed sedan is slightly longer than the current version, with a sportier design and a sleeker interior.
Foreign Investors Welcome in China
Mao Ning, spokeswoman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, welcomed Musk and other business leaders, saying that the Chinese government would like to see foreign investors “sharing in the dividends of the development of China.” However, neither Tesla nor representatives from Shanghai’s government press office and the State Council Information Office of China have responded to requests for comment.