Beijing: Tesla Inc chief executive Elon Musk said on Saturday his company would be shut down if its cars were used to spy, his first comments on news that China’s military has banned Teslas from its facilities.
“There’s a very strong incentive for us to be very confidential with any information,” Musk told a prominent Chinese forum during a virtual discussion. “If Tesla used cars to spy in China or anywhere, we will get shut down.”
Sources told Reuters on Friday that the Chinese military has banned Tesla cars from entering its complexes, citing security concerns over cameras installed on the vehicles.
These limitations were highlighted at the controversial meeting of senior Chinese and American diplomats in Alaska, the first personal interaction since US President Joe Biden took office in January.
Musk insisted on creating more mutual trust between the two largest economies in the world. In his speech at the China Development Forum, he said that a foundation established by the State Council was hosting a high-level business meeting.
He held a symposium with Xue Qikun, a Chinese quantum physicist in charge of Southern Quantum University of Technology.
In China, the world’s biggest car market and a key battleground for electric vehicles (EVs), Tesla sold 147,445 vehicles last year, 30% of its global total. However, it is facing more competition this year from domestic rivals from Nio Inc to Geely.
Musk has made several high-profile appearances in China, where Tesla makes as well as sells EVs. In 2019, he discussed Mars and artificial intelligence with Alibaba’s outspoken founder Jack Ma.
At a delivery event last year for China-made Model 3 sedans, Musk danced enthusiastically on stage, stripping off his jacket in what became a social media storm.