Tesla Motors Inc CEO Elon Musk, who will be participating in a Hong Kong technology forum this week, is discussing the firms performance in Greater China. Musk told Engadget that his firm faced some hiccups initially, but now it is performing “reasonably well” in Mainland China. However, he did not reveal any specific sales figures to support his claim.
Tesla seeks local partners
Musk said he’d like to lock down manufacturing plans, suggesting finding a local partner and a location for a factory by the middle of 2016. A “partner” strategy will help waive the high import duties that the local government charges, and also gives access to other local incentives for EVs.
Presently, Tesla Motors Inc has 15 stores in seven major cities of Greater China. It has more than 340 Superchargers, and more than 1600 destination chargers. Hong Kong itself has 42 Superchargers, making it the city with the highest density of rapid charging stations. This is in addition to the 75 destination chargers over there.
Last year, the firm sold 2,221 units of Model S in Hong Kong, accounting for 80% of the local electric vehicles that year. This is equivalent to 4.39% of Tesla’s total global shipment in the same period.
China – important market for Tesla
Tesla and Musk receive attention constantly, and this can overshadow an important fact – the growth rate Tesla, the world’s leading electric-car maker, is higher outside the US. The investments that Tesla made in sales and charging networks have helped in kick-starting sales abroad.
Of all the global markets, China is the most important market for Tesla. The region has around 3.6m millionaires. Though it is well behind the 6.9m millionaires in the U.S, the number of millionaires rose by almost half in 2014 in China, says BCG. Also, China now has more millionaires than the top eight European nations combined. For the US, the number of millionaires saw a rise of 4.7% during the same period.
Tesla, which opened its first sales office in 2013, didn’t have a great start in China. The firm missed its own guidance for China sales, and laid off a major portion of its China staff to control costs. However, now things appear to be getting better, from January to September, the firm said it sold 3,025 Model S cars in the country.
On Monday, Tesla Motors Inc shares closed down 3.05% at $196.38. Year to date, the stock is down over 18% while in the last one-year, it is down over 2%.