Elon Musk was showered with praise during a trip to China last week, with people on social media calling him "a pioneer," "Brother Ma" and "a global idol" while the CEO of Tesla, Twitter and SpaceX also met with three government ministers.
Musk met with China's foreign, commerce and industry ministers and dined with Zeng Yuqun, chairman of top battery supplier CATL.
Little was known of those conversations. The industry ministry said only that Musk and its minister exchanged views about electric vehicles and connected cars; the commerce ministry announced Tesla's leader discussed the automaker's development in China. The lack of information did not stop an outpouring of enthusiasm for Musk on Chinese social media.
"He's a global idol," commented one user. "Elon Musk is just great, if only China could have someone like Elon Musk," said another.
The menu for the 16-course meal he shared with CATL's Zeng at the upmarket Man Fu Yan restaurant was effusive, photos posted on social media showed.
Illustrated with two rearing horses — a play on the character for horse used in Musk's Chinese name — the menu described Tesla as a dark horse "standing out from traditional automotive companies."
In contrast to the social media frenzy in China and his propensity at home to make waves on Twitter, which he now owns, Musk didn't tweet or make any public statements during his trip. Twitter is blocked in China.
But the country's foreign ministry quoted Musk as describing the U.S. and China economies as "conjoined twins" and saying that he was opposed to their decoupling.