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Days after postponing his visit to India, Tesla CEO Elon Musk lands in China

Days after postponing his visit to India citing “very heavy Tesla commitments”, Tesla CEO Elon Musk landed in Beijing on Sunday for a surprise visit, where he is expected to meet senior officials to discuss the rollout of Full Self-Driving (FSD) software to discuss. and permission to transfer data abroad, a person with knowledge of the matter said.

Musk was expected to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and announce plans to enter the Indian market. “Unfortunately, the very heavy Tesla commitments require the visit to India to be postponed, but I am very much looking forward to visiting later this year,” the billionaire wrote on X, the social platform he bought in 2022.

The US electric vehicle maker introduced Full Self-Driving, or FSD, the most autonomous version of its autopilot software four years ago, but has yet to make it available in China, the world’s second-largest market, despite customers insisting so insist, according to a Reuters report.

FSD, data transfer on the agenda

According to a Bloomberg According to the report, Tesla is working to bring FSD, the most advanced version of its autopilot technology, to new markets. Its vehicles have been banned from military sites in China and some other government locations in the past, likely due to cybersecurity concerns about the cameras installed in the vehicles it operates.

Musk also wants to get approval to transfer data collected in the country abroad to train algorithms for his autonomous driving technologies. Tesla has stored all data collected by its Chinese fleet in Shanghai since 2021, as required by Chinese regulators, and has not sent any data back to the United States.

Keeping an eye on the Chinese market

Musk’s itinerary on Sunday afternoon includes a meeting with Ren Hongbin, a government official who heads the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, the organizer of the Beijing auto show currently underway, state media reported. “At the invitation of the Chinese Council for the Promotion of International Trade, Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla (US), arrived in Beijing this afternoon,” the Chinese state broadcaster said. CCTV was quoted by Reuters as said.

“It’s good to see electric vehicles making progress in China. All cars will be electric in the future,” Musk said in a video posted on social media by a user affiliated with state media.

Tesla has sold more than 1.7 million cars in China since it launched a decade ago and its Shanghai factory is the largest worldwide. Musk’s visit coincides with the Beijing auto show, which opened last week and ends on May 4.

Difficult times for Tesla

Tesla has witnessed challenging times as its shares fell amid growing concerns over the EV maker’s growth trajectory. Last week, Tesla reported its first decline in quarterly sales since 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic slowed production and deliveries.

The company said this month it would lay off 10% of its global workforce as it struggles with falling sales and a growing price war for electric vehicles led by Chinese brands. It has slashed electric vehicle prices in key markets such as the US and China.

U.S. auto safety regulators said Friday they had opened an investigation into whether Tesla’s recall of more than 2 million vehicles in the U.S., announced in December to install new autopilot protections, was enough after a series of crashes.