After going through a rough couple of months in China, Tesla chief Elon Musk is now trying hard to gain back the former adulation of Beijing.
During an interview with state broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV) Musk showered extensive praises for China as he promised to make China the largest market in the long run for Tesla’s electric cars. The economic and environmental goals of the country were also highly praised by Musk even though the country currently is the highest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world. China has pledged to drastically reduce its carbon emission within a decade or so.
“I’m very confident about Tesla’s future in China,” Musk told CCTV during the interview, which the broadcaster published online late Tuesday.
“The Chinese economy I think can do extremely well over the next decade and will become the biggest economy in the world. And it’s also committed to a sustainable energy future,” he said.
This attempt by Musk could be very critical ion deciding the future of Tesla in China. While in the past few years the company has been given special treatment by the Chinese authorities, an onslaught of criticism has been targeted at it in recent weeks.
Executives of the company were summoned last month by Chinese officials to question them about the quality of its cars assembled at its plant in Shanghai. And there were reports during the week end of the Chinese military banning the entry of Chinese cars in military complexes over security concerns and spying by the onboard cameras in Tesla cars.
Referring to those spying concerns, Musk said on Saturday at a Chinese development conference that the cars of the company would never be used for spying.
During his interview on CCTV, Musk however went a step further to praise China while also stressing on the importance of the Chinese market for his company. According to a recent company filing, about one fifth of the total revenues of Tesla is accounted for by the Chinese market and is the second largest market for the company after its home market of the United States.
In the long term, China “will be our biggest market, both where we make the most number of vehicles and where we have the most number of customers,” Musk told CCTV.
While pointing out and praising the ambitious plans of China of gaining economic dominance over the next five years, Musk also offered heaps of praise of the climate goals set by the country.
“These are very aggressive goals. And I think they are great goals. And I wish more countries actually had these goals,” Musk said. “I’m very confident that future of China is gonna be great.”
There are about 1.7 million followers of Musk on Weibo, a prominent Chinese social media platform, which is higher than the following of the apple CEO Tim Cook. However Musk’s popularity on social media platforms is still lower than that of Microsoft founder Bill Gates who has 4.1 million followers.
(Adapted form CNN.com)