Elon Musk’s China Charm Offensive Rolls On With Praise for Climate Plans

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SINGAPORE—Elon Musk, whose Tesla Inc. is on the defensive in China, praised the country’s plans to tackle carbon emissions and grow its economy, saying it will become the auto maker’s largest market in the long term.

In a short interview with Chinese state television published three days after he sought to reassure Chinese politicians about concerns that the company’s vehicles pose a national security risk, Tesla’s chief executive officer said he was impressed by the carbon emission goals set out in the country’s latest five-year economic and social blueprint that was agreed upon earlier this month.

“I’d like to strike an optimistic note and I’m very confident that the future of China is going to be great and that China is headed towards being the biggest economy in the world and a lot of prosperity in the future,” he told state-run broadcaster China Central Television in an interview clip published Tuesday.

“China in the long term will be our biggest market, both where we make the most number of vehicles and where we have the most number of customers,” he added.

China accounted for about a fifth of Tesla’s global revenue of $31.5 billion in 2020, according to public filings. The U.S. is its largest market with $15.2 billion in sales.

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