Musk’s Ties to the Chinese Communist Party

Elon Musk is heavily invested in China.

QUICK FACTS:
  • Elon Musk opened a Tesla factory in Shanghai in 2019, as the Chinese government welcomed him with billions of dollars worth of cheap land, loans, tax breaks, and subsidies. “I really think China is the future,” Musk said at the time.
  • A quarter of Tesla’s 2021 revenue came from China.
  • Batteries for Tesla vehicles come from Chinese electric vehicle battery maker Contemporary Amprex Technology (CATL), which in June of 2021 extended a battery supply deal with Tesla that will last through December 2025. CATL is owned by Bohai Harvest RST, the Chinese fund manager in which Hunter Biden holds a 10% stake through his business, Skaneateles.
  • On the 100th anniversary of China’s Communist Party last year, Musk tweeted that the “economic prosperity that China has achieved is truly amazing, especially in infrastructure!”
  • “China rocks in my opinion,” Musk said in a July 2020 podcast from Automotive News. “People there—there’s a lot of smart, hardworking people, whereas I see in the United States increasingly much more complacency and entitlement.” Former Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) described Musk’s comment as “tone deaf to the legitimate national security concerns that members of Congress have.”
  • Responding to Musk’s opening of a showroom in China’s Xinjiang region, where the Chinese govt. is reportedly committing genocide on the Uyghur people, Representative Marco Rubio’s (R-FL) office tweeted, “Nationless corporations are helping the Chinese Communist Party cover up genocide and slave labor in the region.”
CONGRESS DOESN’T HAVE “GOOD EYES” ON MUSK’S “FINANCIAL ENTANGLEMENTS WITH CHINA”:
  • Rep. Chris Stewart (R-UT) is pursuing confidential briefings in Washington, D.C. with officials from agencies including the National Reconnaissance Office (which coordinates the launch of intelligence satellites) to find out whether the Chinese government has any direct or indirect links to SpaceX.
  • Stewart also wants to determine whether any companies with Chinese ties have invested in privately-traded SpaceX.
  • “I am a fan of Elon Musk and SpaceX, but anyone would be concerned if there are financial entanglements with China,” said Rep. Stewart, a senior member of the House Intelligence Committee. “Congress doesn’t have good eyes on this.”
BACKGROUND:
  • China is one of Tesla’s biggest markets, as Musk’s company is supported by China’s Communist Party and Chinese President Xi Jinping. Chinese authorities gave Musk “low-interest loans, cheap land and other incentives” for Tesla’s Shanghai facility, The Wall Street Journal reports.
  • In 2018 and early 2019, Tesla was confronting financial problems as its U.S. manufacturing plant couldn’t produce enough cars to meet expectations, causing the company to run low on funds. But in 2019 and 2020, Tesla “received two loans from Chinese banks, according to the company’s 2021 annual report, including a $1.4 billion facility to help with construction of its factory in Shanghai,” WSJ also notes.
  • Musk’s advocacy for a pro-China future echoes calls from the World Economic Forum’s Global Future Council on China to “make recommendations for building trust between China and the rest of the world.” The WEF claims that “China is taking an increasingly active role in reshaping the international system of climate change, digital transformation and economic development while simultaneously grappling with the local implications of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.” The Global Future Council on China promises it “will explore emerging models of Chinese leadership adapted to a new norm of globalization” as well as “illustrate how business leaders both inside and outside China can navigate this changing landscape to bring an entrepreneurial approach to solving global challenges.”