Elon Musk tells China Tesla will ‘shut down’ if cars used to spy on military

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The ongoing trade war between China and the US continues to heat up as Elon Musk has been forced to respond to accusations that his Tesla vehicles could used for espionage.

The Chinese military has banned Tesla cars from entering any of its facilities, saying that there were security concerns about the cars’ built-in cameras and other sensors.

But the SpaceX and Tesla supremo has rejected the accusations, saying that for any company to do that would be commercial suicide.

“If a commercial company did engage in spying, the negative effects to that company would be extremely bad,” he told the China Development Forum via video link.

“For example,” the multi-billionaire added, "if Tesla used the cars to spy in China…or anywhere, any country…we will get shut down everywhere.”

Urging the world’s two biggest economies to try to find a way to trust each other more, he added that Tesla’s desire to stay in business would be “a very strong incentive for us to be very confidential with any information.”

This is just the latest in a series of tit-for-tat exchanges between America and China. Former US President Donald Trump complained several times about China’s alleged unfair trading practices and copyright theft.

The dispute has already led to the US and China imposing tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of one another's goods.

China is the world’s biggest car market and seen by manufacturers of electric vehicles as a key battleground for commercial supremacy.

In 2020, Tesla sold 147,445 cars in China – representing 30% of its worldwide sales. But while it remains the best-known brand for electric cars, rivals such as Nio Inc and Geely are making rapid inroads into the global market.

  • Donald Trump
  • Elon Musk
  • Spacex
  • Military
  • China

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