China Auto Show

A worker wipes as visitors sit on a BYD Song Pro DM-i car model during the Auto China 2024 in Beijing on Sunday. Global automakers and EV startups unveiled new models and concept cars at China’s largest auto show, with a focus on the nation’s transformation into a major market and production base for digitally connected, new-energy vehicles. Andy Wong/Associated Press

BEIJING — Tesla founder and CEO Elon Musk met with a top government leader in the Chinese capital Sunday, just as the nation’s carmakers are showing off their latest electric vehicle models at the Beijing auto show.

Chinese Premier Li Qiang told Musk that he hopes the U.S. will work more with China on “win-win” cooperation, citing Tesla’s operations in China as a successful example of economic cooperation, China’s state broadcaster CCTV said on its main evening news program.

For China, Musk is a welcome antidote to the tough talk from U.S. officials, which played out most recently during a visit by Secretary of State Antony Blinken. Li’s remarks also reflect China’s efforts to attract foreign investment to boost its flagging economy.

It wasn’t clear whether Musk would visit the auto show, which runs through this week. Chinese automakers and startups have launched a bevy of electric cars in recent years, some going head-to-head with Tesla and undercutting the American maker on price.

An earlier CCTV online report said that Musk had come at the invitation of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade and met with its president, Ren Hongbin, to exchange views on further cooperation and other topics.

Tesla has a major manufacturing base in Shanghai for both domestic sales in China and exports to Europe and other regions. It cut prices in China a week ago, dropping the Model 3 to $32,700 and the Model Y to $35,200, following similar reductions in the U.S.

The European Union has launched an investigation into Chinese subsidies for the EV industry that could lead to tariffs on electric vehicles made in China, potentially including Tesla cars.

The green energy subsidies have helped transform the Chinese auto market, with EVs reaching about a quarter of new car sales last year, eating into demand for gasoline-powered vehicles.

Foreign automakers such as Volkswagen and Nissan are scrambling to develop new EV models to hold onto or claw back market share in China, the world’s largest automobile market.

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