Tuesday, May 30, 2023
Tech billionaire and CEO of SpaceX Elon Musk while en route to China praised Chinese space advancements and the efforts it is taking to be at par with the US and China, as China intends to land its crew on the lunar surface by 2023.
Musk wrote on Twitter: "The Chinese space programme is far more advanced than most people realise."
On Tuesday 51-year-old Musk landed in the Chinese capital Beijing where he is likely to meet with the state officials, marking the trip first in three years.
The former CEO of Twitter is also expected to visit Tesla's Shanghai plant, Reuters reported citing sources.
It is not immediately clear what Chinese officials Musk is expected to meet and what issues would come under discussion. There have been no reports from the Chinese media about CEO SpaceX's arrival.
According to the Chinese foreign ministry, the government welcomed Musk — and other business leaders — looking to promote "mutually beneficial cooperation."
As per the Reuters report in March, Musk was intending to visit China and was seeking a meeting with Chinese Premier Li Qiang.
The visit comes at a backdrop when Musk's Tesla is facing competition from Chinese-manufactured electric cars. The vehicle company is also facing uncertainty about expansion plans for the Shanghai factory complex that Musk last visited in early 2020.
After the US, China is the second biggest market for Tesla and the Shanghai plant is the electric car maker's largest production center.
For Tesla observers, central areas of interest include the status of its plans to increase output by 450,000 vehicles annually at its Shanghai plant.
Tesla said in April that it would build a nearby factory to produce Megapack energy storage products.
It is also yet to be seen whether Chinese regulators allow the release of Tesla's advanced driver assistance features available in other markets as part of the "Full Self Driving" software it sells for $15,000 per vehicle.
According to ADS-B Exchange, a flight aggregation website, Musk's private jet, a 2015 Gulfstream G650ER, was shown leaving Alaska on Tuesday morning Asia time before crossing over Japan and South Korea.