Tesla Inc.'s Elon Musk joined Apple Inc.'s Tim Cook, Mercedes-Benz Group AG's Ola Källenius and other car and technology company bosses in emphasizing the importance of maintaining ties with China in his first visit to the country since before the pandemic.
Musk met with Foreign Minister Qin Gang in Beijing on Tuesday and said the interests of China and the U.S. are intertwined, according to a government statement. The release cited him saying that Tesla opposes decoupling from China and is willing to keep expanding in the country.
The remarks are reminiscent of Mercedes' Källenius telling a German newspaper last month that unbundling from China is "an illusion," and Apple's Cook emphasizing the symbiotic nature of the iPhone maker's relationship with the country during a visit in March. Just last week, General Motors Co.'s Mary Barra said China remains a key market for the company and that she was looking forward to continuing to develop clean cars with local partners.
The comments run counter to efforts by leaders including U.S. President Joe Biden and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz to gain a geopolitical upper hand over Chinese President Xi Jinping by exerting greater influence over the trade of key components, including electric-car batteries and semiconductors.
Musk also is expected to visit Tesla's Shanghai factory, people familiar with the matter said, asking not to be identified because the information is private. The Tesla chief executive officer potentially will meet Premier Li Qiang, as well, to discuss automated-driving technology that Tesla is seeking to introduce in China, one of the people said.