Musk discusses electric cars with Chinese minister

Musk discusses electric cars with Chinese minister
Musk discusses electric cars with Chinese minister

Elon Musk and China's industry minister discussed ways to develop new energy vehicles yesterday, a day after the Tesla CEO flew to Beijing and announced he wanted to expand his business in the world's second largest economy.

The mercurial billionaire, one of the world's richest men, is traveling to China for the first time in more than three years.

Yesterday, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology met with Jin Zhuanglong in Beijing to discuss the “development of new energy vehicles and smart connected vehicles” at a reading. He did not share any further details.

Musk has broad business interests in China and told foreign minister Qin Gang on Tuesday that his firm is “willing to expand its business in China,” according to a State Department statement.

Chinese media reported that Tesla welcomed the CEO with a 30-course dinner in Beijing on May 16 that included seafood, New Zealand lamb and traditional Beijing-style soybean paste noodles.

China is the world's largest electric vehicle market, and Tesla announced in April that it will establish its second largest factory in Shanghai, which will be its second factory in the city after the Gigafactory, whose foundation was laid in 2019.

Beijing said Musk also expressed his opposition to the economic "decoupling" between China and the United States during a meeting with Qin on May 30.

“The interests of the United States and China are intertwined like inseparable conjoined twins,” Musk said.

Musk's extensive business ties with China raised eyebrows in Washington in November when President Joe Biden said the executive's ties to foreign countries were "worthy" of scrutiny.

And it caused controversy by arguing that the self-governing island of Taiwan should become part of China, an attitude that deeply angered Taiwan, although this was welcomed by the Chinese authorities.

Critics point to the industrial ties that bind Musk to China, which has increasingly strained ties with Washington.

China's Foreign Ministry spokesman Mao Ning said on May 30 that the country welcomes the visits of international rulers "to better understand China and promote mutually beneficial cooperation".