A day after multiple media reports about Tesla CEO Elon Musk's visit to China, he finally landed in the national capital where he held a series of meetings with the Chinese foreign minister regarding plans to boost the electric vehicle market.
According to the statement released by the concerned ministry, the billionaire businessman discussed the "strained" relations with the United States.
Musk, who has high hopes of getting bigger space in the Chinese electric automobile sector, asserted that the strained US-Chinese relations require "mutual respect"-- a stance echoed by President Joe Biden and his Secretary of State Antony Blinken multiple times. However, he stressed that China should also welcome other companies into their country.
Notably, both China and the US have been at loggerheads ever since the then-US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan-- an island nation which Beijing claims as its own.
Her visit came despite repeated warnings from Xi Jinping and his top officials.
Although it was expected that the visit of US Secretary of State Antony Blinken would cool down the tension between the two largest economies but a last-moment goof-up by alleged Chinese spy balloons had ruined all the speculations. This prompted the US to cancel the much-awaited trip of Blinken. At that time, the Biden administration had said it would send its top official but did not mention the timings.
What Chinese FM says
“We need to keep the steering wheel in the right direction of mutual respect, peaceful coexistence and win-win cooperation,” Qin Gang told Musk, according to a ministry statement. The two sides should “avoid ‘dangerous driving,’ ” Qin said. He gave no details of steps to improve relations.
It is worth mentioning the world's largest electric car manufacturer visit comes at a time when the ruling Xi Jinping government is trying to revive investor interest in China’s slowing economy.
Qin said China will “unswervingly promote high-level opening up” and create a “market-oriented, law-based and internationalized business environment,” according to the statement. “China’s development is an opportunity for the world.”
Tesla in China
China’s electric vehicle market “has broad prospects for development,” the ministry quoted Qin as saying. China accounts for half of global electric vehicle sales and is the site of Tesla’s first factory outside the United States.
Tesla opened the first wholly foreign-owned auto factory in China in 2019 after Beijing eased ownership restrictions to increase competition and speed up industry development.
The Chinese statement cited Musk as saying Tesla was willing to expand its business in China and “opposes decoupling,” a reference to fears the world may split into multiple markets with incompatible products.