Meet with V-P, 16-course meal: Tesla CEO Elon Musk's China diary

Tesla boss hails China's 'vitality, promise'; asked to boost investment in Shanghai by top party official

Tesla CEO Elon Musk at Shanghai Gigafactory

Tesla CEO Elon Musk at Shanghai Gigafactory on Wednesday


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Tesla Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Elon Musk departed Shanghai on Thursday, wrapping up a two-day trip to China in which he met senior Chinese government officials including the highest-ranking vice premier (V-P).

Photos and a video of Musk’s visit late Wednesday to Tesla’s Shanghai factory — the automaker’s biggest production hub — showed him holding up a “Giga Shanghai” sign, flanked by hundreds of staff.

The video released by Tesla showed Musk praising employees for “overcoming so many difficulties and challenges” and making a heart sign with his hands.

Earlier in the trip, Musk met with China’s foreign, commerce and industry ministers in Beijing and dined with the chairman of battery supplier Contemporary Amperex Technology Co Ltd (CATL). The menu for the 16-course meal at the upmarket Man Fu Yan restaurant he shared with Zeng was effusive, photos posted online showed.  Little is known of those conversations. He also met with Chinese Vice Premier Ding Xuexiang on Wednesday, a source familiar with the matter said. Ding is the sixth highest-ranked leader in the Politburo Standing Committee, the top governing body led by President Xi Jinping. This marks the first time that Ding is known to have had a one-on-one meeting with a foreign CEO.

Meanwhile, Shanghai party chief Chen Jining told Musk the city is keen to deepen cooperation with Tesla on electric vehicles and energy storage, encouraging him to boost investment in the financial hub when they met on Thursday, according to a city government statement. 

Musk praised China’s “vitality and promise”, Beijing said, during a trip where he reportedly declared he will expand his business there.

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Billionaire Arnault plans China visit on the heels of Musk, Dimon

LVMH CEO Bernard Arnault intends to visit China this month after the country reopened following lockdowns that hampered luxury sales in one of the world’s biggest consumer markets, according to sources. Recently JPMorgan Chase & Co CEO Jamie Dimon and Tesla boss Elon Musk had visited the country. 

Twitter boss stays away from platform for longest in a year

Elon Musk, a prolific presence on Twitter and owner of the social media platform, didn’t send any tweets while he was in China. Up till the early hours of May 30, Musk had tweeted every day in 2023 — often multiple times. His silence in China marks the longest hiatus from the platform since June 2022. 

First Published: Jun 1 2023 | 11:40 PM IST

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