When in Rome, do as the Romans do. And when in China, do as the Chinese.
Chinese companies have a bit of a tradition of having Chief Executives shaking a leg on stage — Alibaba founder Jack Ma has not only danced on stage, but also dressed up as a rockstar and given a full-fledged performance. And while in China, Tesla CEO Elon Musk did a jig of his own while delivering the first China-made Tesla Model 3 to Chinese customers.
At Tesla Giga Shanghai NSFW!! pic.twitter.com/1yrPyzJQGZ
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 7, 2020
While it’s hard to tell who was better on the dance floor — Jack Ma certainly seemed to have gone through more rehearsals than Musk — Musk does have reason to be happy. The plant in China, construction on which began just a year ago, was completed in record time as the factory sped through approvals and construction. Until 2018, the factory was just a muddy plot at a 90-minute drive from Shanghai, but is now assembling more than 1,000 cars a week, and aims to double that rate over the next year. Tesla has said it plans to ramp up production to 150,000 Model 3 vehicles a year, of about 3,000 a week, when the first phase of the factory is completed and the company plans to eventually boost production capacity to 500,000 a year.
It’s helped that Tesla seems to have Chinese authorities in its corner — the company has been winning various concessions from local authorities ranging from approvals to preferential loans. The locally built Chinese Tesla qualifies for an exemption from a 10% purchase tax. It also qualifies for a government subsidy of 24,750 yuan (Rs. 2.5 lakh) per vehicle. Senior Chinese officials were also present at the event where Musk did his little jig.
China wasn’t the only country to have courted Tesla as it had looked up set up factories outside the US. In 2016, the Indian government had invited Tesla to set up factories in the country, but it appears that those talks haven’t quite materialized. Tesla’s next factory is coming up in the automotive powerhouse of Germany,
Tesla, for its part, appears to have turned a corner as a company. In 2018, the company had been embroiled in what Musk had described as “production hell”, and was struggling to make as many cars as it had promised. Tesla bears had then shorted the stock in large quantities, expecting that the company would eventually flounder and blow up. But Tesla has proven its skeptics wrong — after meeting production targets this quarter, its stock rose to a record $443 per share, and is up nearly 40 percent from 4 months ago. And with its factory in China also churning out Teslas, no wonder Musk is no dancing.