Tesla Inc chief executive Elon Musk said on Saturday his company would be shut down if its vehicles were used for spyware, his first comment on the news that Chinese troops had blocked Teslas from its facilities.
“There is a strong incentive to be very secretive about any information,” Musk told a prominent Chinese forum during the talks. “If Tesla uses cars in China or elsewhere, we will be banned.”
Sources told Reuters on Friday that Chinese troops had blocked Tesla vehicles from entering their buildings, and expressed security concerns about the cameras installed in the vehicles.
Those restrictions came as senior Chinese and American strategists held an opposition rally in Alaska, the first public relations since US President Joe Biden took office in January.
Musk called for greater trust between the two largest economies in the world, in his remarks to the China Development Forum, a high-level business forum hosted by a foundation under the Council of State.
He hosted a discussion forum with Xue Qikun, a Chinese quantum physics scientist who heads the Southern University of Science and Technology.
In China, the world’s largest car market and the world’s largest electric vehicle (EVs), Tesla sold 147,445 vehicles last year, 30% of the global total. However, it faces stiff competition this year from domestic rivals from Nio Inc to Geely.
Musk has made several high-profile appearances in China, where Tesla has made and sold EVs. In 2019, he discussed Mars and artificial intelligence with Alibaba founder who spoke openly Jack Ma.
At last year’s Chinese Sedans delivery ceremony, Musk danced enthusiastically on stage, taking off his jacket from what became a storm on social media.