Elon Musk in China for talks 

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The Tesla CEO has met with Prime Minister Li Qiang to promote autonomous driving technology

Tesla CEO Elon Musk met with Chinese Prime Minister Li Qiang on Sunday morning to discuss the company’s further operations in the world’s biggest car market.   

Neither Musk nor Chinese officials had announced the visit, which coincides with the Beijing International Automotive Exhibition, China’s largest auto show, which kicked off two days ago. Tesla is not exhibiting its models at the event and last attended in 2021.   

Reuters earlier reported, citing sources, that Musk had gone to China to discuss with senior Chinese officials the rollout of Full Self-Driving (FSD) software and also obtain permission to transfer data overseas.  

During the meeting with Musk, Li pledged that Beijing would “continue working hard to expand market access,” according to Chinese state media reports. It was not mentioned whether FSD or data issues were discussed at the meeting.    

“China’s very large-scale market will always be open to foreign-funded firms,” the news agency AFP cited the prime minister as saying.  

Tesla rolled out its FSD software, which is the latest version of the Autopilot technology, four years ago. However, the company has yet to make it available in China. Earlier this month, in response to a query on X (formerly Twitter), Musk pledged that the option would appear in the country “very soon.”  

China is the second biggest market for Tesla after the US. It has sold over 1.7 million cars in China since entering the market, which is considered the world’s largest, in 2012, and opened its biggest factory in Shanghai.    

According to Chinese state media, Musk also met with Ren Hongbin, a government official who heads the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, to exchange views on further cooperation. The CEO reportedly traveled to China at the invitation of the organization.  

Meanwhile, Tesla’s Autopilot feature has been under intense scrutiny from US federal regulators. Earlier this week, the US Transportation Department’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration stated it had opened an investigation after receiving reports of 20 crashes involving vehicles that had the new Autopilot software updates installed under Tesla’s recall.

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