Apr 29, 2024 - Economy

Musk's weekend win

Photo illustration of Elon Musk stylized as a comic book character

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Patrick Pleul/Pool via Getty Images

Elon Musk secured a key win for Tesla during an unannounced Sunday trip to China, heading home with preliminary agreements related to selling its self-driving software in the country.

Why it matters: Driver-assistance systems are key selling points for EVs in the world's largest auto market, where Tesla has been ceding market share over the last year.

Driving the news: Chinese officials have reportedly given Tesla tentative approval to launch its Full Self-Driving or (FSD) software feature in the country, Axios' April Rubin notes.

  • Tesla will partner with Chinese tech company Baidu for map and navigation features used with the system, per Bloomberg.
  • Musk also made progress concerning details around the transfer of Tesla data out of China, needed so that it could continue to refine its FSD software, per Reuters.

💭 Nathan's thought bubble: It's absolutely essential for Tesla to maintain strong ties to China, both from a business and technology standpoint — which is why Musk travels there often, praises the country's domestic automakers and strikes partnerships with local companies.

Zoom in: Musk posted a photo of himself from the weekend seated with Premier Li Qiang.

  • "Honored to meet with Premier Li Qiang," Musk wrote along with the photo on X. "We have known each other now for many years, since early Shanghai days."

The big picture: The agreement comes at a crucial time for Tesla, as the company is grappling with slumping sales, increased competition and questions over its spending priorities.

The impact: Tesla shares surged over 15% today, cutting into the now 22% drop investors have experienced since the start of the year.

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This story was an excerpt from Axios Closer, a recap on the day's biggest business stories.

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