Home IT Tesla CEO meets China’s number two official in Beijing

Tesla CEO meets China’s number two official in Beijing

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Tech billionaire and Tesla CEO Elon Musk met with China’s number two leader, Premier Li Qiang, in Beijing on Sunday, vowing the country will “always” be open to foreign companies.

Musk – one of the world’s richest people – arrived in China earlier in the day on his second trip in less than a year to the world’s biggest electric vehicle market.

Chinese state television CCTV reported that during their meeting, Li promised that the country would do more to help foreign firms.

“China’s vast market will always be open to foreign-funded firms,” ​​Li said.

“China will keep its word and continue to work hard to expand market access and strengthen service guarantees.”

Beijing would also provide “a better business environment” for foreign companies, “so that companies from all over the world can have peace of mind when investing in China,” Li added.

Musk has extensive business interests in China and his last visit was in May and June last year.

The premier news agency AFP reported that when contacted Tesla did not respond to requests to confirm Musk’s visit or share his travel itinerary.

CCTV quoted him as praising the “hardworking and intelligent Chinese team” at his Tesla Gigafactory in Shanghai during a meeting with Li.

“Tesla is willing to take the next step in deepening cooperation with China to achieve more mutually beneficial results,” added Musk.

Earlier in the day, the billionaire met with Ren Hongbin, chairman of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, “to discuss further steps in cooperation and other topics”, CCTV said.

The mercurial tycoon is a controversial figure in the West, but in China, Tesla’s electric cars have become a staple of middle-class urban life.

‘Future’
After mocking China’s electric cars, Musk called their maker “the most competitive car company in the world” this year.

“It is good to see that electric vehicles are making progress in China,” he told a state-backed media outlet on Sunday.

“All cars will be electric in the future.” Musk’s own company has run into trouble in the world’s second-largest economy

In January, Tesla recalled more than 1.6 million electric vehicles from China to fix their control software.

Its arrival in China coincides with a violent price war between firms desperate to gain a foothold in the fiercely competitive EV market.

China’s local auto giant BYD – “Build Your Dreams” – beat Tesla to become the world’s best-selling electric car in the fourth quarter of last year.

Tesla reclaimed that title in the first quarter of this year, but BYD remains firmly on top in its home market.

His visit also comes as Beijing hosts the massive auto show, which has been holding press events since Thursday and opens to the public at the weekend.

“Tesla’s Last Hope”
Comments on posts about Musk’s arrival on Weibo were rife with speculation that the celebrity mogul would visit Auto China in Beijing.

One user said Musk’s visit was motivated by a desire to test drive the SU7, the first car model released earlier this year by Chinese consumer technology giant Xiaomi.

Xiaomi’s entry into the competitive EV sector appears to be off to a positive start, with CEO Lei Jun saying this month that pre-orders have exceeded expectations by three to five times.

Other commentators responded to reports that Musk’s trip was intended to give him an opportunity to speak with Chinese officials about the possibility of bringing Tesla’s Full Self-Driving (FSD) technology to the local market.

“FSD is Tesla’s last hope to save domestic sales,” said one Weibo user.

Musk’s interests in China have long raised eyebrows in Washington, with President Joe Biden saying in November 2022 that his ties to foreign countries were “worthy” of scrutiny.

The tycoon also caused controversy by suggesting that the self-governing island of Taiwan should become part of China – a stance welcomed by Chinese officials but deeply angered by Taipei.

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