Tesla CEO Travels to China to Roll Out Autonomous Vehicles

Tesla CEO Elon Musk arrived in Beijing on Sunday for an unexpected visit, focusing on discussions about the Full Self-Driving (FSD) software rollout and data transfer permissions. Musk reportedly met with Premier Li Qiang, who praised Tesla’s development in China as a successful example of U.S.-China economic cooperation.

Musk shared a picture with Premier Li, expressing his honor to meet him, noting their acquaintance since early Shanghai days.

Tesla’s Shanghai plant, established in 2018, marked its first outside the United States. Despite customer demand, Tesla has not yet introduced FSD, its most autonomous Autopilot software, in China, its second-largest market globally.

Tesla CEO Travels to China to Roll Out Autonomous Vehicles
Tesla Model Y (Credits: Tesla)

Musk hinted at a potential availability of FSD in China “very soon” in response to queries. Wedbush equity analysts considered Musk’s visit a significant moment for Tesla, especially in the context of FSD, an essential element for Tesla’s long-term valuation.

While Tesla has been storing data collected by its Chinese fleet in Shanghai since 2021 as per Chinese regulations, Musk is seeking approval to transfer this data abroad to enhance autonomous driving technologies.

The visit, first reported by Reuters, was not publicly announced, and the person speaking about it did so anonymously. CCTV’s report on Musk’s meeting with Li did not mention discussions about FSD or data transfer.

During his visit, Musk also met with Ren Hongbin, a government official overseeing the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, the organizer of the auto show.

Tesla Company (Credits: Tesla)

Musk praised the progress of electric vehicles in China, expressing optimism that all cars would be electric in the future. Additionally, a top Chinese auto association listed Tesla’s Model Y and 3 cars among the compliant models with China’s data security requirements.

Musk’s trip followed the cancellation of his planned visit to India due to “very heavy Tesla obligations.” Tesla recently announced a 10% global workforce reduction amid falling sales and increased EV price competition led by Chinese brands.

In December, Tesla recalled over 2 million vehicles in the United States to install new Autopilot safeguards, prompting an investigation by U.S. auto safety regulators.

Despite these challenges, Tesla has sold over 1.7 million cars in China since entering the market a decade ago, with its Shanghai factory being its largest globally.

Josh Alba
Josh Alba
Josh Alba stands at the forefront of contemporary business journalism, his words weaving narratives that illuminate the intricate workings of the corporate world. With a keen eye for detail and a penchant for uncovering the underlying stories behind financial trends, Josh has established himself as a trusted authority in business writing. Drawing from his wealth of experience and relentless pursuit of truth, Josh delivers insights that resonate with readers across industries.
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