HE has hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons – proposing to use a submarine to rescue the Thai boys trapped in a cave, calling their actual rescuer a paedophile and smoking marijuana on a live webcast, amongst others.

Now tech billionaire Elon Musk is in the news again after his Tesla company broke ground on a new Chinese factory in Shanghai – the firm’s first outwith the US.


THE massive “Gigafactory” will be the Chinese home of Tesla’s Model 3 sedan range, as well as a planned crossover informally known as the Y. The company, which specialises in electric vehicles, announced it would increase its presence in the crucial Chinese market last year, despite trade tension between Beijing and Washington.

Trump has threatened to impose further tariffs on China and raise duties on imports from 10% to 25% as he continues his plan to “make America great again”.

Officials held talks on a trade agreement yesterday and the countdown to the March 1 deadline is well under way.

Tesla’s investment capitalises on Beijing’s move to end restrictions on the foreign ownership of electric vehicle producers as it tries to spur industry development.


THEY face stiff competition. General Motors, Volkswagen and Nissan are also investing heavily in their eco offerings, while Chinese brands including BYD Auto and BAIC Group already sell tens of thousands of hybrid and pure-electric vehicles every year.

However, the 210-acre Shanghai site certainly offers room to join the race to win drivers’ cash.

It is not yet known how much Tesla money has been committed, but local authorities say it is the largest foreign investment there to date.

The region is the engine of the country’s care industry.

Until now, foreign manufacture working in China were legally required to do so through state-owned partners such as Shanghai Automotive Industries Corp, the main local manufacturer for GM and VW. But according to one prominent local, yes, Tesla will probably do alright.


IT won’t be until the end of the year that the first Chinese-made Teslas roll off the production line.

But at the muddy building site yesterday, Wu Qing, the vice mayor of Shanghai, said the project was off to a fortuitous start – because of the horrible weather.

As downpours battered the site, the dignitary said: “Rain represents fortune. The rain today could predict that Mr Musk and Tesla will make a big fortune here.”


THE China boost comes after Tesla cut the prices of existing models in the US.

Last week it emerged that it made around 9300 vehicles more than it sold last year, prompting suggests that demand for its products may be waning.

Analyst Michael Ramsey said: “They have for a long time had more demand than supply. It’s becoming apparent that that dynamic is changing.”