Musk plans China visit, seeks meeting with premier

STORY: Elon Musk is heading back to China.

Reuters has learned exclusively that the Tesla CEO is planning his first trip since the health crisis in the hopes of meeting with China’s Premier Li Qiang.

That’s according to two people with knowledge of his plans, who added that Musk could travel as soon as April.

China is Tesla's second-largest market after the United States and its Shanghai plant is the electric carmaker's largest production hub.

Musk last visited China in early 2020, and set the internet abuzz when a clip surfaced of him doing a bit of “dad dancing,” as some called it, at the Shanghai factory.

The construction of that factory, and its opening in 2019, were overseen by now-Premier Li, back when he was Shanghai's party secretary.

Tesla is grappling with multiple issues, such as delays to its plans to more than double production capacity at the Shanghai plant.

Tesla cars have also been barred from Chinese military complexes and political meeting venues amid concerns over cameras installed on the vehicles, and the company is still waiting for Beijing's approval to offer its full self-driving technology.

Still, the EV-maker recently reported one of its best sales quarters in China, after slashing its prices in a bid to defend its market share.

China is also one of the largest, non-U.S. revenue streams for Twitter, which Musk took over last year.

Sources told Reuters that Twitter's China operations have caused divisions within the company between those who want to maximize the sales opportunity and others who are concerned about the optics of doing business with state-affiliated entities at a time of growing tension between Beijing and Washington.