Elon Musk’s China relationship adds to the potential risk of buying Twitter

Elon Musk’s role as Tesla’s largest shareholder in electric car brand Tesla could complicate his bid to buy a relationship with China on Twitter. Other companies seeking to enter China are pushing to follow Beijing’s position on Taiwan and other issues. But Twitter has been blocked by Internet barriers that prevent most Chinese users from viewing social media worldwide, which does not give Beijing any leverage over the company, although the ruling Communist Party uses it to spread propaganda abroad.

Tesla Inc.’s ambitions in China could help Beijing push Twitter to silence human rights activists and other critics, or simplify promotional rules if the এগিয়ে 44 billion purchase of the mask goes ahead, some experts suggest. Chinese consumers bought half of the Tesla sold last year. Its busiest factory and “main export center” is in Shanghai.

“The Chinese impose unprecedented leverage on business,” said Ann Stevenson-Young of Jay Capital Research. “If you think about Operation Shanghai (Tesla), you’re going to use everything else for that.” Musk says he sees “no indication” that Beijing could use Tesla as leverage, but other companies are not waiting for government orders.

Automakers, apparel brands and others reflect the government’s position by modifying products marketed or sold worldwide to protect their access to China, as the ruling party claims that self-governing Taiwan is part of its territory. Was suspended when he tried to confirm whether the number of Twitter accounts without the actual user behind them was less than 5 percent of the total, the company said.

On Monday, he told a business conference in Miami that a deal at a lower price was “not out of the question,” Bloomberg News reported. It supports the suggestion of industry analysts that Musk wants to pull out of the deal or seek lower prices due to the depreciation of Tesla Sock, some of which he has promised to finance the purchase.

Trying to use investor partnerships in a company to pressure a different company outside of China would be a new strategy. But foreign investors know that the ruling party is increasingly determined to defend its “core interests” worldwide and attacks global brands even when it imposes costs on China and its people.

Officials have warned that companies must “respect the feelings of the Chinese people” and “avoid eating Chinese rice while breaking the Chinese bowl.” Some handfuls have left opportunities in China to cooperate with government censorship or surveillance or to avoid the reaction of consumers abroad on human rights or other issues. Companies like the hotel operator Marriott are even more common, having fired an employee in 2018 who “liked” a Twitter post praising a customer survey outside of China that called Tibet a country.

Regulators can put pressure on carmakers to block output expansion by instructing them to remain silent about the cause. More openly, state media have called for a boycott of Japanese, South Korean and other brands during disputes with their government. According to LMC Automotive, sales of T-Eslar in China rose 226 percent to 473,600 vehicles last year. That was about half of its 935,222 worldwide distribution.

Musk, who is chairman of Tesla, was asked by Beijing about the possibility of using the automaker as Twitter’s leverage during a May 11 event hosted by The Financial Times on the future of the auto industry. “I did not see any indication That effect, ”replied Kasturi. Musk said he expects China to have 25 percent to 30 percent of the Tesla market in the long run.

The billionaire, of South African descent, has said he will not see another Tesla plant in China in the near future, but the company will expand to Shanghai. The company, headquartered in Austin, Texas, did not respond to emails about its expansion plans. . Human rights activists criticized Tesla despite allegations of persecution against ethnic Muslim groups living there after opening a showroom in northwestern Xinjiang last year. The company is not alone: ​​Volkswagen AG operates a factory in the region, and Chinese partners of other global brands have sales outlets there.

Musk said he wanted to turn Twitter into a “politically neutral” forum, as each country’s laws allow for independence. He did not say what he could do about Twitter’s requirement that Chinese state media and officials’ accounts be labeled “state-“. Related. “This could make it easier for Beijing or other governments to influence American public opinion during elections by canceling or blocking inflammatory speech.

A reporter for the official China Daily wants to remove the tag. On April 30, Chen Weihua wrote on Twitter, “I should remove Elon Musk’s label.” “It’s completely discriminatory and suppresses freedom of speech.” Some companies have failed to find a compromise between Chinese pressure and public outrage over allegations of forced labor and other abuses in Xinjiang.

Last year, state media called for a boycott of Swedish clothing retailer H&M and other brands that have stopped using cotton from Xinjiang. Lester Ross, head of the Beijing office, said most were stuck in their positions despite the sell-off, possibly for fear of greater losses from consumer reactions abroad. Some companies don’t want to be seen “carrying water for the government”. Wilmerhall, a law firm in Washington.

According to official figures, the number of Internet users in China is at most just over 1 billion. But most cannot see the thousands of websites run by Twitter, other social media and news outlets abroad, human rights or pro-democracy activists and others. China has its own popular but widely censored social media. They must remove material that is considered destructive or pornographic. Sina Weibo, a microblog service like Twitter, says it has 573 million active monthly users, or more than 229 million Twitter users. Tencent’s WeChat messaging service says 1.2 billion people use it every day.

Censorship has been steadily tightening since President Xi Jinping took office in 2012. Accounts operated by support groups for young gays and lesbians have been shut down. Allegations of food shortages were dropped during the closure of Shanghai to combat the spread of the virus.

In 2018, Tesla became the first foreign automaker to set up its own factory in China after the ownership restrictions in the industry were lifted. Until then, global automakers had to work through state-owned partners who assembled their vehicles. Tesla’s honeymoon included subsidies for electrical buyers and exemptions from sales taxes. But when subsidies were increased in 2020 to help the industry through the epidemic, Tesla was left out, while its closest Chinese rival, the luxury electric brand NIO, qualified.

Musk is known for the glowing gestures that include smoking marijuana during a radio interview. But he is wary of Chinese sensitivities. He complained that the anti-virus system in California had disrupted Tesla production but did not say anything publicly after his company was forced to close its factory after the Shanghai shutdown.

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