US electric vehicle maker Tesla Motors has set up a technology innovation center in Beijing, Ren Yuxiang, Vice President of Tesla Motor, revealed in an interview with The Beijing News (in Chinese). The Tesla Beijing Technology Innovation Center was registered last October in Beijing.
Ren told reporters that China is the world’s largest new energy car market, and Beijing is the first stop and headquarters of Tesla’s entry to China as well as one of Tesla’s largest markets in China.
“Beijing is a very important market in China for Tesla, we have to especially thank the Bejing government’s vigorous support and promotion of new energy vehicles,” Ren said, adding that Beijing has set an example for many cities around the world.
It is obvious that Tesla has big plans in China. On Tuesday (10 July), during his three-day visit to China, Tesla CEO Elon Musk signed an MOU with the Shanghai authorities to build Tesla’s first factory outside the US in Shanghai, making Tesla the first wholly foreign-owned car maker in China. The upcoming China factory is said to be capable of manufacturing 500,000 vehicles annually.
However, amidst the excitement, Tesla’s recent announcements was a mixed bag. According to this week’s reports, Tesla has raised its prices in China to offset the significant increase in import tax, which in order to sidestep these taxes is to manufacture the vehicles locally. What’s more is the intensified tension between US and China over trade and technology.
In 2013, Tesla opened its first store in China in Beijing. Since then the company has opened 7 experience centers and 6 service centers in the city. In 2017, Tesla sold 103,000 vehicles globally, nearly 20,000 of which is sold in China.
The new innovation center will focus on electric vehicles R&D—spare parts, battery, energy storage equipment, information technology, and more—which future product developments will be eligible of filing patent applications and cross-license patents in China.
This article by Nicole Jao originally appeared on TechNode, a leading authority on technology in China