Exclusive-Elon Musk heading to China for visit to Tesla’s second-biggest market, sources say

By Thomson Reuters Apr 28, 2024 | 12:09 AM

SHANGHAI (Reuters) -Tesla CEO Elon Musk was on a flight heading to Beijing on Sunday to kick off a surprise trip in the electric vehicle maker’s second-biggest market, according to two people with knowledge of the matter. Musk is seeking to meet senior Chinese officials in Beijing to discuss the rollout of Full-Self Driving (FSD) software in China and to obtain approval to transfer data collected in the country abroad to train algorithms for its autonomous driving technologies, one of the people said.

Tesla has since 2021 stored all data collected by its Chinese fleet in Shanghai as required by Chinese regulators and has not transferred any back to the United States.

The U.S. EV maker rolled out FSD, the most autonomous version of its Autopilot software, four years ago but has yet to make it available in China despite customers urging it to do so.

Musk said this month Tesla may make FSD available to customers in China “very soon”, in response to a query on social media platform X.

Rival Chinese automakers such as Xpeng have been seeking to gain an advantage over Tesla by rolling out similar software.

Musk’s visit to China was not flagged publicly and the people spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to speak with media. Tesla did not respond immediately to a request for comment.

(Reporting by Zhang Yan and Brenda Goh; Editing by Jamie Freed)