According to the New York Times, Tesla Motors is currently in discussions with the Shanghai Municipal Government to explore the option of establishing its first manufacturing facility in China. This move comes with the hope to ensure affordability abroad, with China accounting for about 15 percent of Tesla’s revenue last year. However, there is no shortage of obstacles as Tesla would have to find ways around China’s recent halt of the issuing of automobile making business licenses, a law requiring the project to have a Chinese joint-venture partner, and possibly a large import duty. In addition, the idea is met with opposition from Western countries for concerns over China’s goal to become self-sufficient in some technology industries, resulting in the development and subsidizing of domestic competitors to Western companies. Despite critics, the proposition is an enticing one. A Tesla factory in Shanghai could mean less dependence on foreign oil imports and more affordable cars from being able to bypass import tariffs, making it even easier for people to purchase a more environmentally-friendly alternative. It would also propel China, a major market in the world, to be a leader in curbing harmful pollutants that already plague the country.
By Emily Kwan