Multibillionaire tech entrepreneur Elon Musk said on Saturday that his electric car company Tesla would be shut down in China, or anywhere else for this matter if the company engaged in spying activities.
This would be the first time the Tesla Inc. chief would be addressing earlier reports about Tesla vehicles being banned from China’s military facilities, due to security concerns over the hardware installed on those cars and SUVs.
“There’s a very strong incentive for us to be very confidential with any information,” Musk said at a prominent Chinese forum during a virtual discussion, Reuters reported.
“If Tesla used cars to spy in China or anywhere, we will get shut down,” he said.
The Chinese military has yet to confirm the Tesla ban reports, however, several US media reported, quoting unnamed sources familiar with the matter, that the main reason for concerns is the cameras installed on Tesla models that could collect sensitive data in a way the Chinese government control.
China is the biggest market for electric vehicles in the world, with Tesla one of its biggest players. More than that, 30% of Tesla’s 2020 global total accounts for the Chinese market.
Tesla was also in the first place in the top-10 rating of electric cars sold in China last year with its Model 3 according to data from China’s Passenger Car Association. The company, however, tailed behind General Motors’ joint venture with Wuling Motors and state-owned SAIC Motor and gets competition from Chinese BYD automaker, that has two models in the rating.