Elon Musk concludes 3-day visit to China amidst speculation over expansion plans

During his visit to Tesla's Shanghai factory on Wednesday, Elon Musk met with the carmaker's employees. Picture source: Weibo

1st June 2023 – (Shanghai) Chen Jining, the secretary of the Shanghai Municipal Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), met with Tesla CEO Elon Musk on Thursday. The meeting occurred amidst souring relations between Beijing and the West, and Musk’s three-day visit to China ended with no concrete deals or agreements.

Musk met with Chen in the morning before leaving by his private jet from Hongqiao International Airport at 11.23 am. The flight was bound for Austin, Texas, the carmaker’s headquarters. During the meeting, Chen pledged to cater to companies’ demands during plant construction and operation and welcomed Tesla to bring new products, technologies, and services to Shanghai.

The Tesla CEO expressed his thoughts on developing new environmentally friendly products to tap the market in China. Meanwhile, a local government source stated that Shanghai officials are determined to support Tesla’s capacity expansion.

Musk’s visit to China also included meetings with Foreign Minister Qin Gang, Commerce Minister Wang Wentao, and Industry and Information Technology Minister Jin Zhuanglong in Beijing. Qin told Musk that China would create unprecedented growth potential and market demand on the back of the country’s modernisation drive and goal of achieving common prosperity.

In Shanghai, Musk visited the plant at the Lingang free-trade zone, where he was greeted by hundreds of employees. In a video clip on an app by Shanghai Television, Musk congratulated the Tesla employees on their impressive work and their ability to overcome so many difficulties and challenges.

Despite speculation about Tesla’s plan to expandits Shanghai Gigafactory, no concrete deals or agreements were signed during Musk’s visit to China. However, the meetings with Chinese officials and Chen Jining are seen as significant, given the current geopolitical climate and the tensions between Beijing and the West.