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Tesla just registered a new electric auto firm in China

Tesla just registered a new electric auto firm in China

The California-based automaker has reportedly submitted registration filings to establish a local entity known as Tesla Shanghai Co.

It was not clear if the new firm was related to the anticipated Shanghai plant.

The licence, dated May 10, allows Tesla to conduct R&D on electric cars, auto parts, batteries and solar panel products.

Tesla, the biggest-selling electric carmaker in the USA, would not comment on its Chinese subsidiary on Monday.

The South China Morning Post in February reported that Tesla had threatened to shift its presence away from Hong Kong after the government briefly eliminated incentive programs that reduced the effective sale price of electric vehicles. Amid pressure from the Trump Administration and lobbying from Tesla, CEO Elon Musk recently praised China for a "willingness to open their markets" and said he believed "they will do the right thing".

Analysts have said the main beneficiaries of looser ownership rules would be NEV makers like Tesla to protect its technology rather than cede a 50 percent share.

In an earnings call earlier this month, Musk told investors that Tesla plans to announce the location of a gigafactory in China as early as in the third quarter of this year.

China is an important marker for Tesla, as well as for General Motors. China sold 777,000 new-energy vehicles in 2017, a 53 percent increase over 2016. Plug-in-hybrid vehicle sales are booming in the country.

Tesla was in talks with the Shanghai municipal government on building a factory at Lingang New City a year ago, but the negotiations did not come to fruition due to differences on the ownership structure.

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