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Tesla's Musk in China as rivals reveal new electric cars at Beijing auto show

In this photo released by Xinhua News Agency, visiting Tesla founder and CEO Elon Musk, left, meets with Chinese Premier Li Qiang in Beijing, Sunday, April 28, 2024.
In this photo released by Xinhua News Agency, visiting Tesla founder and CEO Elon Musk, left, meets with Chinese Premier Li Qiang in Beijing, Sunday, April 28, 2024. Copyright Wang Ye/Xinhua
Copyright Wang Ye/Xinhua
By Euronews with AP
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Musk is viewed in China as a favourable contrast to the stern statements from US officials, particularly during the recent visit by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

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Tesla founder and CEO Elon Musk met with a top government leader in the Chinese capital on Sunday, coinciding with carmakers showcasing their latest electric vehicles at the Beijing auto show.

During a meeting with Musk, Chinese Premier Li Qiang expressed his hope for increased "win-win" cooperation between the US and China, citing Tesla's operations in China as a prime example of successful economic collaboration, according to China's state broadcaster CCTV.

Musk posted a photo of himself and Qiang on X, saying "We have known each other now for many years, since early Shanghai days".

For China, Musk is a welcome antidote to the tough talk from US officials, which played out most recently during a visit by Secretary of State Antony Blinken. 

Li's remarks also reflect China's efforts to attract foreign investment to boost its flagging economy.

It wasn't clear whether Musk would visit the auto show, which runs through this week. 

Chinese carmakers and startups have introduced a wide range of electric cars in recent years, some directly competing with Tesla and offering lower prices than the American manufacturer.

Tesla has a major manufacturing base in Shanghai for both domestic sales in China and exports to Europe and other regions. 

The European Union has launched an investigation into Chinese subsidies for the EV industry that could lead to tariffs on electric vehicles made in China, potentially including Tesla cars.

The green energy subsidies have helped transform the Chinese auto market, with EVs reaching about a quarter of new car sales last year, eating into demand for petrol-powered vehicles.

Foreign car manufacturers like Volkswagen and Nissan are rapidly developing new electric vehicle models to maintain or regain market share in China, the world's largest automobile market.

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