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Tesla drives into Shanghai to capitalize on car reforms

Tesla Shanghai Company Limited has obtained a business license issued by market supervision advisory of Pudong New Area with a registered capital of 100 million yuan.

The American electric carmaker Tesla has set up a new company in Shanghai, as China prepares to scrap rules on capping foreign ownership of new-energy vehicle ventures.

Tesla has been in protracted negotiations to set up its own plant in Shanghai, helping to bolster its position in China’s fast growing market for electric cars and to avoid import tariffs.

The US company’s Hong Kong subsidiary registered Tesla (Shanghai) Co last Thursday with a registration capital of 100 million yuan (US$15.8 million), filings on the National Enterprise Credit Information Publicity System showed yesterday.

The company’s business scope will include technology development, service, consultation and transfer of electric cars, spare parts, batteries, energy-storage equipment and photovoltaic products, according to the filing.

The company will also engage in wholesale, commission agency, import and export business, as well as providing supporting services, electric car display and product promotion business, according to the information published on the website of the national enterprise credit information system.

Huang Weifang, an official from Lingang Management Committee of the Pudong New Area in Shanghai, said the city government “is supportive on the innovation and development of new-energy vehicles and optimistic on Tesla’s development in China.”

“The city government and Tesla maintain good communication with each other. Both parties hope to accelerate the development of China’s new-energy vehicle sector,” Huang added.

“The company registered recently in Shanghai is to meet Tesla’s business development needs in China.”

The new company lists Zhu Xiaotong, Tesla China general manager, as its legal representative, and Tesla Motors HK Ltd as the sole shareholder.

During an earlier interview with Shanghai Daily, Zhu said China is the second-most important market for Tesla after the United States and is a significant market for new-energy vehicles.

Tesla did not immediately respond to requests for further details of Tesla (Shanghai).

Tesla currently imports all the cars it sells in China from the US. It has other wholly owned firms registered in China focused on sales and research and development.

China has said it will scrap limits on foreign ownership of new-energy vehicle ventures this year and all automotive ventures by 2022, a major policy shift in the world’s biggest car market that has capped foreign ownership at 50 percent for over two decades.

Analysts have said the main beneficiaries of looser ownership rules would be new-energy vehicle makers like Tesla, which has been keen to maintain control of its own plant and protect its technology rather than cede a 50 percent share.

Elon Musk, chief executive of Tesla Inc, said earlier this month that the US company will announce a China location for a new “gigafactory” that will produce batteries as well as vehicles.

The automaker reported a less-than-expected net loss of US$784.6 million on revenue of US$3.4 billion in the first three months of this year.

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