Tesla Sales Hit Monthly High In China Amidst Taiwan Criticism

Image credit: Tesla

Tesla sales hit monthly record in China as Elon Musk faces criticism over suggestion that Taiwan become special administrative zone of mainland

Tesla’s electric vehicle sales in China have hit a new monthly record, as Taiwan criticised the company’s chief executive Elon Musk for suggesting the island become a special administrative zone governed by the mainland, similar to Hong Kong.

The Texas-based car maker reported sales of 83,000 Shanghai-produced vehicles in China in September, up 8 percent from the previous month, according to the China Passenger Car Association.

The figure, which broke Tesla’s previous record set in July, suggests supply chain bottlenecks in the country are easing after disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdowns that continued through this spring.

Tesla has been trying to boost production at its Shanghai plant, while also ramping up production at newer factories in Texas and Germany.

elon musk, tesla, spacex
Image credit: SpaceX

Special administrative zone

Tesla depends on China for about one-third of its business, a fact that has exposed Musk to criticism amidst geopolitical tensions.

Some, including Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, have suggested that if Musk buys Twitter he could face censorship pressure from Beijing.

In an interview with the Financial Times published on Friday Musk suggested a way to resolve tensions between China and Taiwan could be to “figure out a special administrative zone for Taiwan that is reasonably palatable”, although he acknowledged this “probably won’t make everyone happy”.

“And it’s possible, and I think probably, in fact, that they could have an arrangement that’s more lenient than Hong Kong,” Musk added.

Image credit: Tesla
Image credit: Tesla

‘Best approach’

China’s ambassador to the US thanked Musk for the remark, saying on Twitter the proposal was “the best approach to realising national reunification”.

“Provided that China’s sovereignty, security and development interests are guaranteed, after reunification Taiwan will enjoy a high degree of autonomy as a special administrative region, and a vast space for development,” he added.

China has offered a “one country, two systems” policy to Taiwan as a route to unification but has not ruled out taking control of the self-governing island by force.

But Taiwan’s de facto ambassador to Washington, Hsiao Bi-khim, responded on Twitter: “Taiwan sells many products, but our freedom and democracy are not for sale.”

Tesla's Gigafactory 3 in Shanghai. Image credit: Tesla
Tesla’s Gigafactory 3 in Shanghai. Image credit: Tesla


She added, “Any lasting proposal for our future must be determined peacefully, free from coercion, and respectful of the democratic wishes of the people of Taiwan.”

Musk previously held a poll on Twitter in which he suggested the conflict in Ukraine could be resolved by ceding Crimea to Russia, prompting a scornful response from Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

Tesla's Gigafactory 3 in Shanghai. Image credit: Tesla
Tesla’s Gigafactory 3 in Shanghai. Image credit: Tesla