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Elon Musk’s private jet has landed in Beijing – witnesses Reuters




BEIJING, May 30 (Reuters) – A private jet used by Tesla Inc ( TSLA.O ) Chief Executive Elon Musk has arrived in Beijing, according to a Reuters witness.

Musk is expected to meet senior Chinese officials and visit Tesla̵[ads1]7;s Shanghai factory, sources have said, in what will be his first trip to China in three years.

Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment on whether Musk had arrived in China.

It was not clear who Musk would meet in China’s government and what issues they would discuss. State media had not reported on Musk’s visit on Tuesday afternoon.

China’s foreign ministry said in a statement that the government welcomed Musk – and other business leaders – who want to promote “mutually beneficial cooperation”.

Reuters reported in March that Musk was planning a trip to China and wanted a meeting with Chinese Premier Li Qiang.

The trip comes at a time when Tesla faces increasing competition from China-made electric vehicles and some uncertainty about expansion plans for the Shanghai factory complex Musk last visited in early 2020.

China is Tesla’s second largest market after the US, and the Shanghai plant is the electric car manufacturer’s largest production hub.

Key areas of interest to Tesla watchers include the status of its plans to increase production by 450,000 vehicles a year at its Shanghai factory. It said in April it would build a nearby factory to produce Megapack energy storage products.

Another unresolved question is whether China’s regulators will approve the release of Tesla’s advanced driver assistance features that are available in other markets as part of the “Full Self Driving” software it sells for $15,000 per vehicle.

Musk’s private jet, a 2015 Gulfstream G650ER, was shown leaving Alaska on Tuesday morning Asian time before crossing over Japan and South Korea, according to the ADS-B Exchange, an aircraft aggregation website.

The jet with its identifying tail number could be seen at Beijing Capital International Airport on Tuesday, according to the Reuters witness.

While his plane was en route to China, Musk tweeted about progress in China’s space program, which aims to land a crew on the moon before 2030.

“The Chinese space program is far more advanced than most people realize,” he said.

Musk’s space company, SpaceX, and the military applications of the Starlink satellite network have been watched with interest and concern by Chinese scientists since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

State-owned Chinese companies are rushing to follow Starlink by launching their own low-Earth-orbit communications satellites. Chinese military researchers have studied Starlink as a potentially threatening technology, according to research reviewed by Reuters.

Reporting by Tingshu Wang and Josh Arslan in Beijing and Zhang Yan in Shanghai; Written by Brenda Goh; Editing by Kevin Krolicki and Edwina Gibbs

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.



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