Elon Musk praises China, says Tesla will continue to expand investments there


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Elon Musk, founder and chief engineer of SpaceX speaks at the 2020 Satellite Conference and Exhibition March 9, 2020 in Washington, DC. Musk answered a range of questions relating to SpaceX projects during his appearance at the conference.
Win McNamee | Getty Images

Elon Musk reassured Tesla‘s commitment to China, saying the automaker will continue to expand its investments in the country.

Musk’s comments came in a pre-recorded question-and-answer style stream at the World Internet Conference, hosted by the Cyberspace Administration of China.

It’s the second time this month Musk was highly complimentary of the nation that’s imperative to his electric vehicle company, saying it’s a “global leader digitalization.” Less than two weeks ago, Musk, during another pre-recorded stream at the World New Energy Vehicle Congress, said Chinese automakers were the “most competitive in the world.”

“My frank observation is that China spends a lot of resources and efforts applying the latest digital technologies in different industries, including the automobile industry, making China a global leader in digitalization,” Musk said in the latest video. “Tesla will continue to expand our investment and R&D efforts in China.”

Tesla has been trying to improve its reputation in China after a slew of negative press. The company has faced regulatory scrutiny around its privacy and a handful of recalls in China. Beijing had reportedly restricted or banned the use of Tesla’s electric vehicles by some state and military personnel.

Musk called out data protection in his speech, specifying what types of data are stored locally.

“At Tesla, we are glad to see a number of laws and regulations that have been released to strengthen data management,” Musk said.

“Tesla has set up a data center in China to localize all data generated from our business here, including production, sales, service and charging. All personally identifiable information is security stores in China without being transferred overseas. Only in very rare cases, for example, spare parts orders from overseas is data approved for transfer internationally.”

The company broke ground on a major Shanghai factory in 2019. Tesla sold 44,264 China-made vehicles in August, including 31,379 for export. It was an increase from the 32,968 China-made vehicles sold in July and 33,155 units sold in June.

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