Musk says Tesla will stop its cars in China if it spies elsewhere

Elon Musk, Chief Executive Officer of Tesla Inc., attends a session on March 20, 2021 at the China Development Forum in Beijing, China via video link. Reuters / Roxani Liu

BEIJING (Reuters) – Tesla Inc. chief executive Elon Musk said on Saturday his company would shut down if its cars were used for spying, his first comment on news that the Chinese military had banned Tesla from its facilities.

“We have a very strong incentive to remain highly confidential with any information,” Musk told a leading Chinese forum during the virtual discussion. “If Tesla would use the car to spy on China or anywhere else, we would stop.”

Sources told Reuters on Friday that the Chinese military had banned Tesla cars from entering its complex, citing security concerns over cameras installed on vehicles.

Top Chinese and U.S. in Alaska. The sanctions came as diplomats held a controversial meeting, the first such personal conversation since US President George W. Biden took office in January.

Musk called for more mutual trust between the world’s two largest economies, in a remark to the China Development Forum, that a high-level business meeting is being organized by the Foundation under the auspices of the State Council.

He was hosting a panel discussion with Chinese quantum physicist Zhe Kuokun, head of the University of Science and Technology.

In China, the world’s largest car market and a major battleground for electric vehicles (EVs), Tesla sold 147,445 vehicles last year, accounting for 30% of its global total. However, it is facing more competition this year than domestic rivals from Neo Inc. to Gili.

Kasturi has made several high-profile introductions in China, where Tesla sells and sells EVs. In 2019, he discussed artificial intelligence with Mars and Jack Ma, the outspoken founder of Alibaba.

At a delivery event for the Model Dell 3 sedan made by China last year, Kasturi danced enthusiastically on stage, taking off her jacket and causing a storm on social media.

Reported by Yili Sun, Cheng Lang and Ryan Wu; Edited by William Mallard