Musk Meets With Chinese Officials

Tesla founder Elon Musk met with Chinese officials this week to discuss potential further cooperation this week. The Twitter owner was met with a significant welcome by Beijing, though he received some criticism of the trip closer to home.

Musk met with Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang during his travels, leading to an increase in Tesla’s stock price. Prior to becoming foreign minister Qin was the nation’s ambassador to the United States.

Musk nor the Chinese government went into great detail over the meetings in Beijing and Shanghai. Tesla has a factory in the latter city. 

Tesla’s facility in Shanghai opened in 2019. The factory currently has about 20,000 employees and represents a majority of Tesla’s production. 

Following the United States, China is the second-largest consumer of Tesla products. 

Musk’s company has shown considerable interest in the People’s Republic, promoting one of its Chinese executives to oversee its global production model. 

In addition, Tesla announced earlier this year that it would open a new factory near Shanghai to build batteries. The hope is that the company could create 10,000 battery systems the size of shipping containers per year.

The trip was unannounced and the first that Musk made to the country since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

The move follows significant cooperation between the South African-born billionaire and the Chinese government in the past.

Not every review of the billionaire investor’s trip was positive. Republican 2024 candidate Vivek Ramaswamy described one aspect of Musk’s visit as concerning.

During his time in China, Musk spoke against the potential “decoupling” of the American and Chinese economies.

Ramaswamy wrote on Twitter that it was “deeply concerning” that Musk referred to the two nations’ economies as “conjoined twins.” 

The Republican candidate said that he strongly supported Musk’s changes to Twitter since purchasing it in 2022, but that Musk’s visit played a role in tilting “the global scales of perception in China’s favor.” 

He said that the United States “needs leaders who aren’t in China’s pocket, yet Biden is just another embodiment of that same problem.”