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Tesla sets up new R&D company in China ahead of factory launch, according to official documents

Earlier this month, Tesla CEO Elon Musk elaborated on the automaker’s plans to establish manufacturing capacity in China with a new factory in the country within the next 3 years.

Ahead of those plans, Tesla is now establishing a new company in the country for research and development, according to a new government filing.

As of quite recently, China launched the ‘National Enterprise Credit Information Publicity System’ in order to make public information about companies in the country and boost their effort toward broader transparency.

While scouring through the filings, auto parts trade platform Gasgoo found that Tesla Hong Kong registered ‘Tesla (Beijing) New Energy R&D Co. Ltd.’

They report:

“The information from the department website shows that the new company’s business covers the research and development of electric vehicles (EV) and EV’s auto parts, battery, energy storage device, photovoltaic product technology and information technology. The business scope also includes the transfer and permission of R&D achievements, technology service, technology consulting, technology supporting, the import and export of technology and goods.”

Zhu Xiaotong, Tesla China General Manager, is named as an officer of the new company, according to the documents.

Currently, Tesla is listing over 100 opened job positions in China, but they are mostly related to sales and services as the automaker is trying to expand its retail presence in the country.

Electrek’s Take

This development is especially interesting in light of Tesla planning a new factory in China relatively soon.

Musk confirmed earlier this month that Tesla’s spending in China should significantly increase in 2019 as they try to complete a factory to be production-ready around 2020.

The announcement of a new Tesla factory in China has been delayed on several occasions. We speculated that Tesla might be waiting for the government to open the door to foreign automakers for the wholly owned production of electric vehicles – something that they have been openly talking about doing in order to accelerate their zero-emission vehicle effort.

Companies seeking to manufacture electric vehicles in China must obtain a “new energy vehicle license” in order to produce and sell EVs locally.

The registration of ‘Tesla (Beijing) New Energy R&D Co. Ltd.’ could potentially be part of Tesla’s plan to obtain such a license.

Demand for electric vehicles is exploding in China and Tesla profited from the demand by tripling its sales to over $1 billion in the country in 2016.

Tesla continues to have strong sales in the country this year, where it leads foreign electric car sales with no close second.

The company keeps growing in the market with Model S and Model X alone by expanding its presence with more stores, service centers, and Superchargers, but local manufacturing and Model 3 are expected to be needed to take the automaker to the next level in China.

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