Here’s Why Elon Musk Ditched India Tour To Visit China

Here’s Why Elon Musk Ditched India Tour To Visit China

Elon Musk as CEO and Tom Zhu

Elon Musk reportedly called off a trip to India earlier this month in favor of a major opportunity in China.

What Happened: The Tesla  CEO canceled a trip to India in April this year because of a massive opportunity in China, the Financial Times reported. During his trip to Beijing, Musk reportedly bagged a deal that has pushed his plans of bringing full self-driving technology to China closer to reality.

Elon Musk was reportedly scheduled to visit India to scout for a location for Tesla’s new $3 billion (₹25,048 crore) electric vehicle (EV) gigafactory. But just 10 days after announcing the visit, he canceled the trip, leaving Indian officials hanging in the balance. Musk instead visited Beijing to meet Chinese Premiere Li Qiang.

The billionaire was advised by his team to cancel the trip to India and focus on Beijing despite his apprehensions about dropping his meeting with India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the report said.

Musk’s interest in India started building up in 2019, the report said. Tesla’s global head of policy and business development Rohan Patel, a former energy adviser to President Barack Obama, was leading the talks with officials in India.

By 2022, Musk had grown more confident about the potential for manufacturing EVs in India. The talks gained steam after New Delhi announced its plan to offer lower tariffs on higher-priced imported EVs for companies that pledge to manufacture them domestically within three years. The scheme starts accepting applications this month and will require companies to commit to investing in India in return for reduced duties.

Indian officials are waiting to see if Tesla will be one of their applicants but the company has not held discussions on the tariffs since Musk’s canceled visit, the report said. In fact, Tesla has not made any further inquiries with the country since Musk’s canceled visit, Bloomberg said earlier this month. The Indian government believes Tesla is experiencing capital constraints and does not intend to commit new investment in India in the near future, it said.

However, despite Tesla’s current issues, it is committed to bringing its operations to India in the long term, the FT report said. Musk has been “obsessed” with the country due to its potential as both a market and a hub for manufacturing cars for export, the outlet said, citing people aware of the matter.

Several Indian officials also reportedly expressed confidence that Tesla had not lost interest in the market.

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