China Sees Tesla As An Espionage Threat


Tesla (TSLA) cars are reportedly off-limits for Chinese military personnel and for officials at some state-run companies, according to a report Friday. Tesla stock rose.

Chinese officials claimed that the electric car has sensors that can record video, monitor when and where the car was used and obtain personal information about the driver that can be sent back to the U.S., according to a Wall Street Journal report.

The electric-auto maker has several cameras positioned inside and outside the cars for its driver-assistance system. Tesla eventually wants its cars to be fully automated and drive without a person at the wheel.

Tesla has said earlier that its privacy policy "complies with Chinese laws and regulations." A spokesperson told Bloomberg that the cameras installed inside cars made in or sold to China were not turned on.

Tesla Stock

Shares reversed higher to close up 0.3% at 654.87 on the stock market today. Tesla stock has fallen below its 50-day line but found support at its 200-day line, according to MarketSmith analysis. Still, it remains the No. 1 auto stock by market cap.

China is a major market for Tesla and one that founder Elon Musk has been courting heavily. In 2019, Beijing even exempted Tesla cars from a tax on new vehicles. The company found government support for its gigafactory in Shanghai. It is now producing 5,000 Model 3 cars per week at its expanded production factory and has started producing the Model Y.

But Tesla also faces tough competition from local rivals in China including Xpeng Motors (XPEV), backed by e-commerce giant Alibaba (BABA), Nio (NIO), Li Auto (LI), and BYD (BYDDF).

On Friday, Nio stock rose 4.1%, Xpeng climbed 7.1% and Li Auto added 4.9%, while BYD lost 0.2%.

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