Days after putting off trip to India, Musk visits China, meets Premier Li

BEIJING: On a surprise visit to Beijing amid speculation that he may unveil Tesla‘s autonomous driving technology in the burgeoning electric vehicle (EV) market in China, billionaire Elon Musk on Sunday met Chinese Premier Li Qiang and discussed future expansion plans for his automobile.
Li told Musk that China’s huge market will always be open to foreign-funded enterprises.
China will work hard on expanding market access and improving services to provide foreign-funded enterprises with a better business environment and stronger support so that companies from all countries can invest in China with peace of mind, he said.
Noting Tesla’s development in China can be called a successful example of China-US economic cooperation, Li said facts have proven that equal cooperation and mutual benefit are in the best interests of the two countries.
It is hoped that the US and China will meet more halfway and promote the stable development of bilateral ties under the strategic guidance of the two heads of state, the Chinese premier said.
Musk said Tesla’s Shanghai Gigafactory is Tesla’s best-performing factory and expressed his willingness to deepen cooperation with China to achieve more win-win results, official media reported.
The SpaceX and Tesla chief travelled to China at the invitation of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, meeting with CCPIT president Ren Hongbin to discuss further cooperation with the country, official broadcaster CTGN reported.
Musk is expected to meet senior Chinese officials at the State Council and “old friends” in Beijing, Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post reported.
His Tesla has become a popular EV in China after he set up a USD seven billion factory in Shanghai which went into production in 2020.
Musk, who recently skipped a scheduled visit to India to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi to firm up plans to open a Tesla factory in the country, is visiting Beijing when his Tesla market in China is threatened by the local EVs increasing sales.
The Austin-based (Texas) Tesla has faced fierce competition from Chinese EV makers in the past few years. It has cut the prices of its Shanghai-made vehicles by up to six per cent to maintain its leading position in China’s premium EV segment.

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