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Tesla CEO Elon Musk Makes Unexpected Visit To China, Here’s WHY

Elon Musk's unannounced trip to Beijing focuses on discussions with officials regarding Tesla's Full Self-Driving software and data transfer abroad. Premier Li Qiang lauds Tesla's Chinese endeavors as emblematic of US-China economic cooperation.
10:12 AM Apr 29, 2024 IST | Saurav Gupta
tesla ceo elon musk makes unexpected visit to china  here’s why
Tesla CEO Elon Musk Makes Unexpected Visit To China

Tesla's CEO, Elon Musk, made an unexpected journey to Beijing, aiming to discuss crucial matters with senior officials, including the deployment of Full Self-Driving (FSD) software and the authorization for data transfer overseas. Premier Li Qiang greeted Musk, praising Tesla's strides in China as emblematic of successful US-China economic cooperation, a sentiment echoed by Musk on social media platform X.

The electric vehicle giant secured a deal with Chinese authorities in 2018 for its Shanghai plant, marking its inaugural venture outside the US. Despite unveiling FSD four years ago, Tesla has yet to introduce it in China, its second-largest market globally. Musk hinted at a potential FSD launch in China, responding to queries on X, as domestic rivals like Xpeng vie for supremacy with similar software.

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Musk seeks approval to export data gathered in China to refine Tesla's autonomous driving systems. Since 2021, Tesla has stored all Chinese fleet data locally, complying with Chinese regulations. However, Musk's visit was clandestine, with no public announcement, as reported by Reuters. Discussions between Musk and Li Qiang concerning FSD and data transfer remain undisclosed, as stated by Chinese state broadcaster CCTV.

During Musk's visit, discussions extended to China's burgeoning smart New Energy Vehicle (NEV) sector, as observed by Li Qiang during his visit to the Beijing auto show. Musk also met with Ren Hongbin, a government official overseeing the Beijing auto show, emphasizing the future of electric vehicles in China in a video circulated on social media.

Musk's journey to China followed the cancellation of a planned visit to India, attributed to demanding Tesla commitments. Notably, Tesla announced workforce reductions amidst dwindling sales and intensified competition from Chinese electric vehicle brands. Additionally, US auto safety regulators launched an investigation into the adequacy of Tesla's recall measures following a series of accidents involving over 2 million vehicles.

Also read: Tesla CEO Elon Musk Cancels India Trip, States Big Reason

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