According to two sources familiar with the matter, Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla, is planning to visit China in April and hopes to meet with China’s Premier Li Qiang. However, the exact timing of the visit is dependent on Li Qiang’s schedule, one of the sources noted.
Neither Tesla nor China’s State Council Information Office provided any comment on the matter when contacted by Reuters. Tesla considers China to be its second-largest market after the United States, and its largest production facility for electric vehicles is based in Shanghai.
If Musk’s visit materializes, it would be his first trip to China since the COVID-19 pandemic began and since Xi Jinping was re-elected for a third term as China’s president. Li Qiang was previously Shanghai’s party secretary, where he supervised the development and opening of Tesla’s factory.
In early 2020, Elon Musk made a high-profile visit to China, where he made headlines for his on-stage dance during an event at the Shanghai factory. Since then, he has continued to participate in virtual speeches at various forums, including China’s World Internet Conference.
Musk has previously met with Li Qiang, the Shanghai party secretary, at the opening of the Shanghai plant in 2019 and during an online meeting in 2020 where he expressed gratitude for the party secretary’s support during the pandemic.
Musk’s upcoming visit to China coincides with China’s efforts to attract foreign investment to help revive its economy, which has been severely impacted by the pandemic. Li has been active in promoting this effort, recently speaking at business events that also featured the likes of Apple’s Tim Cook and Pfizer’s Albert Bourla.
The details of Musk’s agenda for the visit have not been disclosed, but Tesla is currently facing challenges in its plan to expand production capacity at the Shanghai plant.
Chinese military and political meeting locations have prohibited Tesla vehicles due to concerns over the presence of cameras in the cars. Additionally, Tesla is awaiting approval from Beijing to offer its complete self-driving technology in China.
According to sources, Twitter generates significant revenue from non-U.S. sources, including China, which has become a contentious issue within the company. Some teams are keen to maximize the sales opportunities while others are worried about doing business with state-affiliated entities amidst rising tension between the U.S. and China. Elon Musk, who acquired Twitter last year for $44 billion, has been informed of this development.