Musk to visit China this weekend

Musk to visit China this weekend

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Elon Musk will be in China for a visit from Saturday, with a possible stop at Tesla Inc.’s Shanghai factory, according to people familiar with the plans.

The billionaire’s schedule is expected to include a meeting with local Shanghai authorities, the people said, declining to be identified because the trip hasn’t been disclosed publicly. The plans are fluid and may still change, they said.

Tesla did not respond to a request for comment on Musk’s visit outside of regular business hours.

Musk’s visit would come at a time of heightened tensions between China and the U.S. over everything from an alleged Chinese spy balloon being shot down over American skies to Beijing’s partnership with Russian President Vladimir Putin amid his country’s war in Ukraine.

Musk is traveling with Tom Zhu, who was named Tesla’s senior vice president of automotive this month.

Zhu joined in 2014 and led the construction and operations of Tesla’s factory in Shanghai, living in the facility during Covid-related lockdowns. He is one of just four named executive officers along with Musk, Chief Financial Officer Zachary Kirkhorn and Drew Baglino, senior vice president of Powertrain and Energy Engineering.

After the US, China is Tesla’s largest market, accounting for 22.3% of revenue in 2022. The company increased shipments from its Shanghai plant in March.

In October, the electric-vehicle maker — a major player in hyper-competitive China — cut prices on models produced at its enormous factory on the outskirts of Shanghai. Matters escalated in January, with another discount that left Tesla’s locally made cars as much as 14% cheaper than last year, and in some cases almost 50% less expensive than in the US and Europe.

— With assistance by Chunying Zhang, Dana Hull and Jing Li

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