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Elon Musk: Tesla boss on first China trip in over three years

Elon Musk: Tesla boss on first China trip in over three years

Elon Musk: Tesla boss on first China trip in over three years

Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla, is currently in China on his first visit to the country's second-largest economy in more than three years.

He landed in Beijing on Tuesday and is scheduled to travel to Shanghai to see Tesla's sizable production facility.

Within hours after landing in China, the multibillionaire visited Qin Gang, the foreign minister.

The journey, which takes place at a time when tensions between the US and China are high, has not received any public comments from Mr. Musk.

He was asked by reporters about his plans for the trip as he was leaving a hotel in Beijing on Wednesday, but he chose not to respond.

Later on Wednesday, Mr. Musk met with China's minister of industry, Jin Zhuanglong, and the two discussed the development of electric vehicles.

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Mr. Musk was ready to expand the auto manufacturer's activities in China, according to a statement released by the Chinese foreign ministry on Tuesday. After the US, China is Tesla's second-largest market.

The ministry also noted that Mr. Musk had referred to the US and Chinese economies as "conjoined twins" during the discussion.

On Twitter, which he controls and where he has more than 141 million followers, Mr. Musk has also been unusually silent.

He is renowned for tweeting often throughout the day, but as of Wednesday lunchtime, he has not done so since landing in the nation on Tuesday afternoon.

Although the social networking site is blocked in China, it may still be accessed using VPNs.

Mr. Musk is the most well-known US businessman to have lately traveled to China. This week, Jamie Dimon, the CEO of JP Morgan, and Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple, both visited China.

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Dan Ives from the research firm Wedbush Securities pointed out that Tesla might face difficulties if tensions between Washington and Beijing rise.

Wall Street is "laser focused on playing nice in the sandbox in Beijing, to make sure there are no disruptions to Tesla's expansion within China for the coming years," Mr. Ives added.

Tesla began construction on its so-called gigafactory in Shanghai in January 2019, the company's first production facility outside of the US.

It delivered its first automobiles made in China later that year, which was a huge milestone for the American company.

However, Covid lockdowns around the country made it more difficult for manufacturers to conduct their companies, notably in Shanghai, a hub of commerce, manufacturing, and shipping.

During the coronavirus closure of Shanghai last year, which Mr. Musk said as "very, very difficult" for Tesla, it appears that the majority of its manufacturing at its gigafactory was halted for many weeks.

The factory, which according to Mr. Musk manufactured its millionth car in August, has recently restarted operations. A third of Tesla's total worldwide production came from this.

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The business said last month that it intended to construct a new facility in China to produce its massive "Megapack" batteries.

According to market research company JATO, China has also overtaken the United States as Tesla's primary market for its Model Y mass-market electric car.

In the first three months of this year, more than 94,000 Model Y vehicles were sold in China, exceeding sales in the US and Europe, according to JATO statistics.

Larger manufacturers like Ford and General Motors, as well as more recent entrants like China's BYD and Nio, have recently put pressure on Tesla's market dominance in electric vehicles.

Mr. Musk, who paid $44 billion (£35.5 billion) to acquire Twitter last year, has been under pressure to find a new CEO and turn his attention back to his other projects, including Tesla and the rocket manufacturer SpaceX.

Earlier this month, he named Linda Yaccarino, the previous head of advertising at NBCUniversal, as the platform's new CEO.

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Ms. Yaccarino will have to manage a company that has struggled to turn a profit while coming under close criticism for its handling of false material and hate speech.

According to financial services business Fidelity Investments, which helped fund Mr. Musk's purchase of the company, Twitter is now only worth about a third of what he paid for it.

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