Tesla may have taken a small step forward in its plan to build a factory in China. Ltd., which is listed as the sole shareholder of the new Shanghai-flagged corporation.
Tesla Inc. has set up a new wholly owned company in Shanghai, moving a step closer to producing its electric vehicles in China and establishing its first gigafactory outside US shores.
Apparently contradicting the speculation in United States media reports, however, Chinese news outlet Sina claims Tesla's Shanghai entity is focused on import/export and technology development instead of vehicle manufacturing. Tesla declined to comment on the registration. CEO Elon Musk has been publicly lobbying China to allow wholly-owned foreign automakers to operate in the country, an ask the Chinese government recently granted.
The potential liberalisations were believed to pave the way for global companies such as Tesla to set up their own production bases in the world's largest vehicle market.
Musk has been critical of China's tough rules for foreign businesses, saying they created an uneven playing field. However, earlier this month he said the firm could soon unveil the location of a Chinese gigafactory. China sold 777,000 new-energy vehicles in 2017, a 53 percent increase over 2016.
The Palo Alto, California-based company has been working with Shanghai's government since past year to explore assembling cars in China.
Beijing has set an ambitious target, whereby new-energy vehicles will account for a fifth of total sales by 2025.
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