Tesla CEO Elon Musk has finally broken the ice and issued a response to a Wall Street Journal report. The report revealed that China would ban the military staff and employees of the key state-owned companies that use Tesla vehicles. The announcement poses a considerable security risk for the Tesla cars as it belongs to an American company and the vehicles collect data.
In a video conference, Elon Musk disagrees with the words used in the report. He made it clear that his company’s vehicles will never spy in China. He shares his views at the Chinese Development Forum that the Chinese government hosted to bring the country close with other global business leaders. Musk further added that sharing user data with the government of either China or the US might ruin the company’s business interest.
At the Beijing Conference, Tesla CEO Elon Musk compared the Tesla vehicle data sharing controversy with the TikTok banning debate. He said last year, the US government decided to ban the ByteDance-owned app over affirmed national security grounds.
Musk said the US wanted to ban TikTok, but it did not happen”. He recalled how people in bulk were concerned about TikTok leaking user data in China. Such concerns are unnecessary, and everyone should learn lessons from them, he added. The call for banning TikTok from former President Donald Trump was more because of political reasons than security reasons.
Tech billionaire told the people at the conference that if his vehicles share any data with the government, he will shut down the company.
Here it doesn’t mean that Tesla’s name has never come under the grey light. Several occasions in the past highlighted Tesla’s cybersecurity and privacy loopholes. Back in 2018, hackers hijacked Tesla’s cloud to compromise the non-public data and install cryptomining malware.
Tesla does a great business in China. In 2019, Tesla’s sales in China raised to $2.98 billion, contributing 12% of the $24.58 billion sales amount. In the previous year, the sales got doubled despite the global pandemic situation. On the other hand, the electric car manufactures sales in China of $6.66 billion in 2020.
In China, Tesla competes with electric car start-ups like Xpeng and Nio.