Indonesian President Joko Widodo met with Tesla Inc. CEO Elon Musk on Saturday to discuss potential investments and technologies, the Indonesian government said in a statement.
The meeting between Musk and Widodo, better known as Jokoi, took place after working-level discussions on possible investments in Indonesia’s nickel industry and the supply of batteries for electric vehicles, Indonesian officials told Reuters.
Tesla representatives were in Indonesia last week for a meeting on potential battery-related investments in Indonesia, Indonesian officials and two people familiar with the talks said.
Tesla had no immediate comment.
Indonesia has been trying to secure a deal with Tesla for several years, investing in batteries and possibly a deal for Musk’s SpaceX Aerospace Company.
Jokoi traveled from Washington, where he attended a meeting of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) leaders to meet with Mask at the SpaceX launch site in Boca Chika, Texas. He invited the billionaire to visit Indonesia in November.
Jokoi will host a summit of 20 major economies in Bali in November. “Hopefully in November,” the Indonesian government quoted Musk as saying.
“There may be room for partnership in many areas, as Indonesia has a lot of potential,” the statement said.
Indonesia has the largest nickel reserves in the world, and Jokoi is keen to build a nickel-based EV industry at home – from nickel making, to battery computing, and to assembling electric vehicles. In the past, he has asked Musk to consider a rocket launch site in Indonesia.
The two deals last month gave Jokowi a boost in developing an EV-related industry at a time when global automakers are scrambling to secure a supply of battery components and reduce their dependence on China.
A consortium led by South Korea’s LG Energy Solutions Limited, the global No. 2 maker of EV batteries, last month announced plans to invest $ 9 billion in Indonesia as part of a deal that would cover everything from nickel refining to battery cell manufacturing in Indonesia.
LG’s biggest rival, China-based contemporary Amperex Technology (300750.SZ), a Tesla supplier, announced a $ 9-billion Indonesian investment in April.