September 23, 2023

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Tesla CEO Elon Musk meets with the Chinese foreign minister and announces expansion

  • Elon Musk met with Chinese Foreign Minister Chen Gang on Tuesday as Beijing pressed to show it was open to foreign companies, and the Tesla CEO reportedly signaled further expansion in China.
  • The meeting between Musk and Kane comes at a time of continuing tensions between the US and China over technology.
  • Tesla opposes “decoupling” and is ready to continue expanding its business in China, according to a statement from the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk attends the opening ceremony of the Tesla China-Made Model Y program in Shanghai, eastern China, January 7, 2020.

Ding Ting | Xinhua News Agency | Getty Images

Elon Musk met with Chinese Foreign Minister Chen Gang on Tuesday as Beijing pressed to show it was open to foreign companies, and the Tesla CEO reportedly signaled further expansion in China.

Chen, who until recently was China’s ambassador to the United States, said “Chinese-style modernization” featuring a massive population and “shared prosperity” will create “unprecedented growth potential and market demand,” according to a statement from China’s foreign ministry. . .

He added that China’s electric car market “has broad prospects for development” and that China will continue to open up and create a market-oriented and law-based business environment for foreign companies such as Tesla.

According to the Chinese Foreign Ministry’s statement, Musk praised the Chinese people and China’s achievements. The statement said Tesla opposes “decoupling” and is willing to continue expanding its business in China.

Tesla did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request to verify the Chinese Foreign Ministry’s statement.

The meeting between Musk and Kane comes at a time of continuing tensions between the US and China over technology. Last year, Washington imposed sweeping restrictions on the export of key chips and semiconductor equipment to China, in a move that could derail Beijing’s attempts to boost its domestic industry in crucial technology.

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This month, Chinese regulators banned operators of China’s “critical information infrastructure” from purchasing products from US chipmaker Micron.

China’s foreign minister said on Tuesday that the “constructive” relations between the United States and China are in the interests of both countries and the world.

On Tesla’s part, Musk’s visit on Tuesday comes as the company grapples with stiff competition and a price war in China. Tesla has been adjusting the prices of its cars in China amid a tougher macroeconomic environment in the world’s second-largest economy.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry statement did not provide many details about what was discussed between Musk and Kane. China is Tesla’s second largest market, and Musk has sought to maintain good relations with Beijing. The billionaire has pledged investments over the years and has praised the country’s technology.

“China is rocky, in my opinion,” Musk said in 2020.

Tesla’s largest car production plant is located in the Chinese megacity of Shanghai, and in April the company announced plans to build another plant locally to manufacture its Megapack energy storage system.