Elon Musk danced for joy in Shanghai

Business & Technology


Photo credit: SupChina illustration by Derek Zheng

Last week, Elon Musk danced onstage at his company’s Gigafactory in Shanghai in front of an audience of employees, journalists, and government officials. He had every reason to be happy: Supported by government incentives, Tesla had just rolled out its first made-in-China vehicle, the Model 3 electric car, only a year after breaking ground on the production plant. The company’s stock price would soon rise over 5 percent. Tesla, it seems, is primed for success in one of the world’s toughest markets.

How did Musk get so far so quickly in China?

Last November, a Chinese journalist published an article titled “A silent struggle for power: The four handshakes behind Tesla’s entry into the Chinese market,” which analyzes Tesla’s rapid progress in China.

In brief, the government hopes Tesla can kick-start the Chinese electric vehicle industry and help develop an ecosystem of companies that is similar to the way Apple has nurtured an enormous group of developers. Or as China business consultants have (rightly or wrongly) urged companies for decades:

If you want to succeed in China, make sure your company’s goals line up with the government’s. Click through to SupChina to read the piece, translated by Johanna Friese and Jordan Schneider.