Billionaire Elon Musk meets with Chinese foreign minister in Beijing

Elon Musk, the boss of Tesla, SpaceX and Twitter, arrived on Tuesday, May 30 in China. He held talks with the Chinese Foreign Minister. This proximity to a country considered a rival raises questions in the United States.

Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang met with billionaire Elon Musk, owner of Twitter, Tesla and SpaceX, on May 30, 2023 in Beijing. © Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China via AP

Text by: RFI Follow


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With our correspondent in Washington, Guillaume Naudin

Elon Musk is a successful entrepreneur, and for that, he is celebrated in the United States. But it poses a problem for Washington. It has ties with China, a country with which relations are notoriously bad. For example about Taiwan or since a Chinese spy balloon was shot down after crossing the American sky.

For months, the US administration has been struggling to establish contacts with the authorities in Beijing, this is not the case of Elon Musk. He flew by private plane to the Chinese capital, Beijing. He had his picture taken with a smile with the Minister of Foreign Affairs and, above all, he does business.

Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang said China is committed to "creating a more market-oriented, rule of law and internationalized economic environment" for foreign companies, according to the statement.

First market for the electric car

China is the world's leading electric car market. The Chinese group Tencent is a shareholder of the manufacturer Tesla and Elon Musk says he is delighted to have it as a partner and advisor. A giant Tesla factory is set up in Shanghai and a battery factory is expected to arrive.

Relations are close between Tesla, Twitter and in particular SpaceX, a company that deals with American space launches. Elected officials on both sides take a dim view of Chinese influence in Elon Musk's affairs. In the fall of 2022, Joe Biden even said that his relations with foreign countries deserved to be examined.

>> Read also: Elon Musk's Neuralink company announces that it is authorized to test its brain implants on humans

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