Elon Musk Visits China to Discuss Tesla’s Full Self-Driving Approval

Tesla CEO Elon Musk made a surprise visit to China over the weekend, engaging in talks with Chinese officials in an attempt to secure approval for the company’s Full Self-Driving (FSD) software, and to address regulatory requirements for data handling in the country.

Musk’s visit was to China’s capital city, Beijing, and not Shanghai, home to the company’s first Gigafactory outside of North America. Musk was accompanied on his trip by Tom Zhu, Senior Vice President, Automotive and former Vice President, Greater China, where he led the construction and operations of Giga Shanghai.

During his discussions, Musk aimed to pave the way for enabling the FSD feature in Tesla vehicles in China, a capability that has been available in the US and other markets but not yet in China due to stringent local regulations.

Tesla has taken significant steps to comply with Chinese regulations, including establishing a data center in Shanghai to localize data storage and processing. This move is crucial as Chinese law mandates that data collected by vehicles in China must be stored and processed locally.

The discussions also touched on the potential for Tesla to transfer some data abroad, which would be used to train its autonomous driving algorithms. This is a sensitive aspect of Tesla’s operations, given China’s strict data security laws.

Musk’s engagement with Chinese Premier Li Qiang was reportedly positive, with Musk expressing Tesla’s willingness to deepen cooperation with China. In response, Premier Li assured that the Chinese market would remain open to foreign companies like Tesla.

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