Musk visits Beijing as Tesla's Chinese-made cars meet safety regulations

Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla and owner of social media site

Gonzalo Fuentes | Reuters

BEIJING – Local Chinese authorities have lifted restrictions Tesla cars after the company's Chinese-made vehicles met the country's data security requirements, the automaker said Sunday.

The breakthrough came when Tesla CEO Elon Musk arrived in Beijing for an unexpected meeting with Chinese Premier Li Qiang, during the city's first major auto show in four years.

Although Tesla's electric cars are among the most popular vehicles in China, this is still the case reportedly banned from some government-related properties over concerns about what data the U.S.-based automaker can collect.

Tesla's press release did not specify which local authorities had lifted restrictions on the cars. The Biden administration announced an investigation earlier this year into whether imported cars from China pose national security risks because of their ability to potentially collect data about the U.S. and send it back to China.

Tesla's vehicles weren't the only ones that met data security rules.

In addition to Tesla's Model 3 and Model Y, several new energy vehicles are being released BYD, LotusNezha, Li Auto And Nio meets Chinese data security requirements, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers and the National Computer Network Emergency Response Technical Team/Coordination Center of China said on Sunday.

XPeng: We're bringing more AI into our vehicles

The new data security requirements for “connected vehicles” were released in November and cover cars released in 2022 and 2023 that automakers voluntarily submit for inspection, the center said.

The rules test whether the cars anonymize facial recognition data outside the vehicle, do not collect cockpit data by default, process that data in the car and prominently notify users of the processing of personal information. Tesla was included in the first group of automakers to meet data compliance requirements.

Tesla said in its press release that it located data storage in its Shanghai data center in 2021 and passed the ISO 27001 international standard for information security after a review by third-party auditors.

Musk's visit to China on Sunday also raised expectations that Tesla's Full Self Driving driver assistance software would soon be available in the country.

However, JL Warren Capital CEO and head of research Junheng Li said on X that the rollout of a 'supervised' version of FSD in China is 'extremely unlikely'.

She pointed out challenges for Tesla to support the local operation of the software as a foreign entity in China. Li said there is “no strategic value” for Beijing to support the domestic rollout of FSD, while there are many high-quality local alternatives, such as Xpeng's driver assistance software.

Premier Li visited Xpeng and other companies at the Beijing Auto Show on Sunday and called for innovation and demand to boost production. according to state media.

Tesla will not be exhibiting at the auto show this year, as has been the case since a demonstrator stood on one of its cars at the 2021 Shanghai auto show. The show alternates annually between Beijing and Shanghai and was not held in 2022 due to the Covid -19 pandemic.

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