'If only China had someone like Elon Musk': Chinese netizens celebrate Tesla CEO

  • Elon Musk has countless fans across the world and those in China are now celebrating his return to their country after a gap of three years.
Tesla Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk is seen here as he leaves a hotel in Beijing, China. (REUTERS)
Tesla Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk is seen here as he leaves a hotel in Beijing, China.

Elon Musk is currently in China in what is his first visit to the country in three years. Tesla is a dominant player in the world's largest electric vehicle (EV) market and while the purpose of the CEO's visit is not known, Musk has once again grabbed the spotlight on Chinese social media sites.

Musk commands a huge fan following on global social media channels, most of which are banned in China. But China has its own social media platforms and Musk is a hugely popular personality even on these. His ongoing stay in the country has sparked further frenzy with fans heaping praises galore.

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Musk landed in Beijing on Tuesday in a private jet and has since held several meetings with top Chinese government officials. He is also scheduled to visit Tesla's Shanghai facility which was opened in 2019 as the company's first outside of the US. Every move he makes is being watched closely, especially by his fans here. "Elon Musk is just great, if only China could have someone like Elon Musk," a user posted on a Chinese social media platform. “He's a global idol," wrote another.

For a top official of an American multinational company to visit China is hardly new. But the buzz around Musk's latest visit is far hotter than what it was when Apple CEO Tim Cook came calling in March. Starbucks' Laxman Narasimhan and JP Morgan's Jamie Dimon are also expected in the country this week but the connect that Musk has with people at large may be quite unparalleled.

But fanfare for Musk alone won't cut it for Tesla in a cut-throat EV market like China. The company manufactured over 700,000 electric car units in Shanghai last year but has also been facing increased competition from local rivals. The persisting US-China tensions are not helping matters either, perhaps something that may have prompted Tesla officials to hold talks in India for a possible manufacturing facility.

Geopolitical tensions and market challenges aside, Musk himself is quite the superhero here as he is in many other parts of the world. Interestingly though, Musk now also owns Twitter, a social-media channel that is blocked in China.

(With inputs from Reuters)

First Published Date: 31 May 2023, 14:11 PM IST
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