Tesla CEO Musk upbeat about China's prospects
Updated 19:19, 13-Jan-2019
Elon Musk, chief executive of electric car maker Tesla Motors Inc, said on Tuesday that he "feels very optimistic about the long-term future of China, [and thinks] the direction [of its reform] has been great."
Musk made the comments in an interview with China Central Television (CCTV), China's largest TV network.
He said the opening-up policies of the second largest economy have been fairly steady and Tesla will not be bothered by a short-term drop in sales despite some challenges ahead.
Tesla Inc broke ground on Monday for its Shanghai Gigafactory where it plans to begin making its Model 3 electric vehicles (EV) by year-end, a first step in localizing production in the world's largest auto market.
The so-called gigafactory is China's first wholly foreign-owned car plant, a reflection of the country's broader shift to open up its car market.
Musk also went on record as saying that Shanghai will host the first Tesla gigafactory outside of the United States, and "will be our most advanced gigafactory as well, so we want to make this factory beautiful, we want to make this factory an extremely environmentally sustainable, and for this to be a showpiece for the world." 
"The world [is in] transition to sustainable transport and sustainable energy generation – solar, battery storage, electric vehicles, and China has been a world leader in that transition, so we look forward to helping to accelerate that transition along with other electric car companies in China."
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang met with Musk in Beijing on Wednesday, saying he hopes Tesla can be an active player in the country's reform and opening-up and a promoter of the stable development of Sino-U.S. relations.
Musk said at the time he was impressed by China's development speed and efficiency. Tesla will strive to build the Shanghai factory into one of the most advanced factories in the world and localize the products at the same time, to better achieve mutual benefit and win-win results.
Gao Feng, a spokesperson of China's Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM), also highlighted at a regular news conference that Tesla is a witness and beneficiary of China's reforms and other foreign-owned car makers are also encouraged to invest in the country and share its opportunities.