Musk starts China trip to enhance ties amid US officials’ ‘overcapacity’ hype
Published: Apr 28, 2024 06:25 PM
Tesla CEO Elon Musk File Photo: Xinhua

Tesla CEO Elon Musk File Photo: Xinhua

Tesla CEO Elon Musk arrived in Beijing on Sunday at the invitation of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT). Ren Hongbin, president of the CCPIT, met with Musk and engaged in discussions regarding future cooperation, according to China Media Group.

Despite so-called "overcapacity" hype by some US officials, companies like Tesla are eager to explore the Chinese market and engage in fierce competition with Chinese new energy enterprises. 

Chinese analysts said Musk's visit highlights the importance of the Chinese market to many American companies as they are enhancing ties, unlike politicians in Washington who always hype up anti-China rhetoric.

Musk is scheduled to engage with senior Chinese officials in Beijing to deliberate on the implementation strategy for Full Self-Driving technology in China which aims to enable autonomous driving mode on Tesla cars in China, reported Reuters.

FSD is available in countries including the US, but not in China, the BBC reported that the electric carmaker has previously taken steps to reassure Chinese authorities about the rollout of FSD in the country, including establishing a data center in Shanghai to process data about Chinese consumers in accordance with local laws.

The visit comes amid the largest auto show, or 2024 Beijing International Automotive Exhibition is underway which is open through Thursday. Global players such as Volkswagen and Mercedes-Benz have signaled their entry into new-energy vehicles (NEVs) on a large scale, highlighting their confidence in the Chinese market. Tesla does not have a booth at the show and it last attended the event in 2021.

According to Indian media outlet, Musk has postponed his visit to India last week.

China is Tesla's second largest market after the US. The Tesla Gigafactory in Shanghai, which started production in 2020, is Tesla's largest production center in the world. "For Tesla, the Chinese market is indispensable," domestic media outlet reported.

"It is good to see electric vehicles making progress in China. All cars will be electric in the future," Musk said in a video posted on social media, Reuters reported on Sunday.

Amid the rapid development of the NEV industry in China, the penetration rate of passenger NEVs exceeded 50 percent in the first half of April, as reported by China Central Television on Sunday, outperforming traditional gasoline-powered vehicles.

Musk's last visit to China was in May 2023, when he met with leaders from several top Chinese officials in charge of foreign policy, industry and foreign trade. He also visited the Tesla Shanghai Gigafactory and met with leaders from the Shanghai municipal government.

Global Times