Musk’s jet lands as Beijing extends welcome

  • China
  • Wednesday, 31 May 2023

BEIJING: Elon Musk’s private jet has landed in Beijing in what would be the billionaire’s first visit to China in three years.

“China welcomes Mr Musk and other leaders from the business community to have a better understanding of China and promote mutually beneficial cooperation,” Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Mao Ning said yesterday in Beijing.

“We would like to see foreign investors operating in China, exploring the Chinese market and sharing in the dividends of the development of China,” she added.

Musk is expected to meet senior Chinese officials and visit Tesla Inc’s Shanghai factory, people familiar with the matter said earlier, asking not to be identified because the information is private.

He will potentially meet Premier Li Qiang to discuss automated-driving technology that Tesla is seeking to introduce in China, one of the people said.

Representatives from Shanghai’s government press office and the State Council Information Office of China also didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Bloomberg reported earlier this month that Tesla is nearing the final stages before starting trial production of its revamped Model 3 sedan in Shanghai, which Musk is betting will compete more effectively with Chinese rivals.

The revised version is slightly longer than the earlier version, is sportier.

Tesla’s Shanghai plant accounted for more than half its global production in 2022, and the facility can now produce as many as 1.1 million cars a year.

Shipments from Tesla’s Shanghai facility dropped in April, a sign consumers may be casting around for other electric vehicles as manufacturers across the country drop their prices.

Musk’s planned visit and his jet’s arrival in Beijing were reported earlier by Reuters.

The US automaker contributed almost one-quarter of Shanghai’s total automotive production value last year, and local authorities pledged earlier this month to continue to boost ties with the company. — Bloomberg

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