22:02 GMT29 January 2020
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    US electric vehicle maker Tesla will begin delivering Model 3 vehicles built at its Shanghai factory on Monday, a company representative told Reuters.

    Construction of its first plant outside the United States began in January and production started in October. The company aims to produce 250,000 vehicles a year after the production of the Model Y is added in the initial phase.

    The first recipients of 15 Teslas made in China are Tesla employees, the company representative added. The delivery date of December 30 means that the plant will start delivering cars to customers just 357 days after the factory’s construction started, marking a new record for global automakers in China.

    The China-made cars are priced at 355,800 yuan ($50,000) before subsidies and Tesla has said it wants to start deliveries before January 25 - Chinese new year. 

    The Shanghai plant is part of the Silicon Valley automaker’s plans to bolster its presence in the world’s biggest auto market and minimize the impact of the US-China trade war. China is currently the world’s biggest electric vehicle market with 1.3 million new-energy vehicles sold last year. Tesla is already building service centres and charging stations across China to assure customers of standardized after-sales service, Reuters reported last month.

    The Chinese government has also been supportive of the factory, which is China’s first wholly foreign-owned car: The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology on Friday said it had added Tesla’s China-made Model 3 to a list of new energy vehicles exempt from purchase tax.  The ministry had exempted all of Tesla’s models from purchase tax back in August.

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