Elon Musk acclaims Chinese automakers in the midst of regulatory scrutiny

A bizarrely scripted Elon Musk gave mollifying and complimentary comments to Chinese automakers during a pre-recorded appearance at China’s World New Energy Vehicle Congress, pausing dramatically that is universes from his commentary style in the United States.

“I have a great deal of respect for the many Chinese automakers for driving these [EV and AV] technologies,” he said, the impression of a ring light only noticeable in the window over his left shoulder. The whole tableau was sufficient to make one speculate that there was an emergency communications expert barely out of frame, asking him to proceed with his prepared comments.

On the other hand, maybe Musk needn’t bother with any external coaxing; China is one of the most lucrative markets for electric vehicles in the whole world, representing around one-fifth — or $6.66 billion — of Tesla’s general sales last year, as per regulatory filings.

While the United States keeps on being perhaps Tesla’s biggest market, the organization has forcefully sought after development in China, including opening Gigafactory Shanghai for 2019 to manufacture the Model 3 and Model Y. Tesla faces competition from Chinese automakers, including electric vehicle startup Xpeng and the search giant organization Baidu.

“My frank observation is that Chinese automobile companies are the most competitive in the world, especially because some are very good at software, and it is software that will most shape the future of the automobile industry, from design to manufacturing and especially autonomous driving,” Musk said in the message.

The organization’s entrance into the EV market of the world’s most populous country was bumpy at first, however Tesla figured out how to turn it around. Last year, the Tesla Model 3 was the best-selling EV in China. Tesla has likewise gotten extraordinary autonomy in the region, particularly as it is the only non-Chinese automaker permitted to entirely possess its local subsidiary. It’s undeniably true’s that Musk has noted in past public appearances.

“I think something that’s really quite noteworthy here is, Tesla’s the only foreign manufacturer to have a hundred percent owned factory in China,” Musk said during the company’s Battery Day event last year. “This is often not well understood or not appreciated, but to have the only hundred percent owned foreign factory in China is a really big deal, and it’s paying huge dividends.”

In any case, it hasn’t all been roses: The organization has confronted a whirlwind of negative media from the two purchasers and regulators this year, starting in February when Chinese government authorities gathered organization executives for a meeting over vehicle safety concerns. (To which Tesla said, “We sincerely accepted the guidance of government departments and deeply reflected on shortcomings in our business operations.”)

Then, at that point, in April, a lady who said she was a Tesla proprietor fought the organization at the Shanghai auto show in April. Bloomberg revealed a few months after the fact that Tesla was endeavoring to construct associations with Chinese online media influencers and auto-industry publications to battle all the bad PR.

In his pre-recorded comments, Musk additionally reacted to a question on self-driving vehicles and data security, calling it “not only the responsibility of a single company but also the cornerstone of the whole industry development.” This issue is particularly delicate after news arose that the Chinese military prohibited drivers from leaving their Tesla’s at its facilities. Last month, China released new guidelines pointed toward supporting information security in connected automobiles, Tech Wire Asia announced. Tesla and different automakers, including Ford and BMW, moved to set up local data storage centers in China.

“Tesla will work with national authorities in all countries to ensure data security of intelligent and connected vehicles,” he added.