Elon Musk Schools Indian Twitter User Who’d Mocked China’s Failed Rocket Launch

Elon Musk might seem chill and approachable on Twitter, but he isn’t taking insults lying down — even if they aren’t directed at him.

Earlier today, the second launch of China’s new-generation Long March-5 carrier rocket failed. The Chinese space agency announced that it had detected an anomaly in the mission, and the rocket was likely lost. Now Musk runs a rocket business of his own that often competes with global rivals, but he was ever the gentleman. “Sorry to hear about China launch failure today. I know how painful that is to the people who designed & built it,” he tweeted.

Musk has seen his share of failed launches at SpaceX, and knows the complexity of sending rockets into space. Most people were appreciative of his tweet, seeing how he’d shown solidarity with a business rival.

Not everyone, though, seemed pained at China’s failed mission. @30akshay, a Twitter user from India, made light of China’s launch. “Well what else can you expect from Made in China things,” he mocked. Made in China is a common joke in India, where things manufactured in China are thought to be cheap and likely to fall apart. 

Musk wasn’t going to take the remark lying down — even though it wasn’t directed at him. “Actually, China manufacturing quality is excellent,” he replied. “Among other things, that’s where iPhones, many Android phones & most laptops are made.”

What Musk says is true — while China might have had a reputation for manufacturing cheap knock-offs in the past, those days are long gone. The country now manufactures nearly every cutting edge product that’s used today, including most likely the phone or laptop that @30akshay was using.

And this isn’t the first time that Musk has stuck up for a space agency. When ISRO had launched a record-breaking 104 satellites, Musk had gone ahead and called it an “awesome achievement”, even though ISRO and SpaceX are rivals when they bid for satellite launch contracts. And his defense of the Chinese space agency shows that he’s focussed on the bigger goal of taking humanity to space, not quibbling over which country gets to do it.