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Elon Musk writes for China’s censors and welcomes more ‘like-minded Chinese partners’

·2-min read
elon musk tesla
elon musk tesla

Elon Musk has told China’s tech industry censors that he would "welcome more like-minded Chinese partners” in an article written for an official journal.

The billionaire also said Chinese companies “will be a force to be reckoned with in the cause of energy innovation” in his article, published in the monthly magazine of the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC).

The government agency controls what Chinese companies can publish online and sets ‘acceptable content’ policies that must be followed by web-based organisations doing business in China.

Musk wrote: “I want to do everything we can to maximise the use of technology to help achieve a better future for humanity. To that end, any area that contributes to a sustainable future is worthy of our investment.”

CAC is the Chinese government agency behind the ousting of Jack Ma, formerly chief of the Alibaba online retail giant and payments business Ant group. Mr Ma’s business success meant party chiefs saw him as a potential threat to their authority.

Mr Musk’s article was published in the CAC’s China Cyberspace journal alongside a similar piece from Eric Jing, the new chief executive of China’s Ant Group who took control after Mr Ma’s involuntary resignation.

The Musk business empire has three main pillars: Tesla, the electric car and commercial-scale battery business; Neuralink, which makes brain interface technology; and SpaceX, which specialises in reusable space rockets.

Dan Ives, a senior analyst at Wedbush Securities told the Telegraph that Mr Musk “needs to walk a tightrope when it comes to China as this region is the heart and lungs of the Tesla demand and production story.”

China accounted for about half of Tesla’s worldwide car sales last year and Mr Musk has faced questions in the West about the links between the Communist country and his business ventures. The Tesla chief executive has significant ties to China thanks to his company’s presence in the nation, mainly through its Shanghai automotive factory.

Mr Ives added: “Playing nice in the sandbox is important for Musk in China — and, ultimately, China likes having Musk and Tesla in their backyard.

When asked in May if he thought China might use Tesla as leverage over him to influence Twitter’s content and moderation policies, Mr Musk said: “I’ve seen no indications to that effect”.