Elon Musk goes to China & Indonesia, eyes Lanka trip after cancelling India visit. Why Tesla CEO’s itinerary matters

Within a month after cancelling his India visit, Elon Musk visited China and Indonesia, and his next trip to Sri Lanka is on the cards. However, India is still awaiting Tesla's response to its plans to enter the Indian market.

Livemint
First Published20 May 2024
Tesla CEO Elon Musk inaugurated SpaceX's satellite internet service for the health sector in Indonesia on Sunday.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk inaugurated SpaceX’s satellite internet service for the health sector in Indonesia on Sunday. (ETIENNE LAURENT / AFP)

Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk visited Indonesia on Sunday to launch the Starlink satellite internet service in the island nation. His recent visit to the archipelago will likely pave the way for a trip to Sri Lanka, as the tech billionaire was spotted exploring opportunities for Starlink services with Sri Lanka's President Ranil Wickremesinghe.

Elon Musk's recent visit to Indonesia came days after his surprise visit to China and nearly a month after he cancelled his visit to India. Musk's plan to visit India between April 20 and 22 was cancelled at the last moment, and there is no update on Tesla's entry into the Indian market. According to a PTI report, Elon Musk's Tesla is yet to inform India about its plans to enter the country. 

"They (Tesla) are just silent. The (EV) policy was always meant for everybody," PTI quoted a government official saying. 

Why was Elon Musk's visit to India cancelled?

The Tesla CEO cancelled his visit to India in May, citing heavy obligations. While announcing a sudden cancellation, Musk mentioned his plans to visit the country later this year.

“Unfortunately, very heavy Tesla obligations require that the visit to India be delayed, but I do very much look forward to visiting later this year," wrote Elon Musk on X.

It is worth mentioning that the Tesla CEO was set to make some big announcements about the $2-3 billion EV factory in India and some developments related to Starlink.

Also Read: Elon Musk's post claiming Saudi Prince bought Tesla's Cybertruck goes viral; netizens say, ‘Looks like a spaceship’

Musk was also expected to meet executives from several space startups in Delhi. The tech billionaire is also waiting for Indian government regulatory approvals to initiate Starlink satellite broadband services in the country. Musk's India visit was cancelled days after Tesla public policy executive Rohan Patel resigned from his post. Patel was one of the leading executives behind Tesla's India entry plans, reported Reuters.

Tesla's shift on low-cost cars throws India plan in limbo

Amid its falling profit margins, Tesla is attempting to utilise its existing factories to build new and more affordable vehicles as early as late this year, reported Reuters on April 24, days after the cancellation of Elon Musk's India visit. According to the report, the development may lead to further delays in investments in new factories in Mexico and India.

"This update may result in achieving less cost reduction than previously expected but enables us to prudently grow our vehicle volumes in a more capex efficient manner during uncertain times," Reuters quoted a company official.

Elon Musk's visit to China

Nearly a week after cancelling his visit to India, Elon Musk made a surprise travel to China. The unexpected visit to China helped the EV maker to clear regulatory hurdles related to the launch of self-driving software in China.

According to news agency Reuters, Tesla sealed a deal with Baidu to use its maps to collect information on public roads in China. 

What does Tesla CEO's delayed visit amid multiple foreign trips mean for India?

Musk's sudden appearance in China after the cancellation of his India trip was widely discussed. It unintentionally signals China's significance for the US firm despite the global companies' inclination towards ‘China plus One’ policy. As Elon Musk's foreign trips continue, India is yet to hear from Tesla about its plans to enter the domestic market.

Musk's visit to India would have marked Tesla's entry into the Indian market. In addition to economic gains, Musk's India trip could have boosted PM Modi's re-election campaign as Tesla's investment announcement could have given a fillip to PM Modi's business-friendly image, reported Reuters.

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HomeNewsworldElon Musk goes to China & Indonesia, eyes Lanka trip after cancelling India visit. Why Tesla CEO’s itinerary matters

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