Tesla’s unprecedented success in China has helped Musk become the world’s richest man. How long can the good times last?
Matthew Campbell, with Chunying Zhang, Haze Fan, David Stringer, and Emma O’Brien
ELON MUSK has praised China’s Government for being “very responsive” to its people’s needs and happiness, suggesting they could be “better” than the US in addressing them.
By DYLAN DONNELLYPUBLISHED: 00:21, Mon, Jan 4, 2021 | UPDATED: 09:16, Mon, Jan 4, 2021
The Tesla CEO was asked China’s “ethical limitations” in an interview with Business Insider. During the interview, Mr Musk also discussed artificial intelligence and the race between China and the US to develop the futuristic technology.
Mr Musk said he had a positive experience when talking to Chinese government officials during his visits to the country, and said they could “possibly” be “more responsible” to their people’s happiness than the US.
He added: “When I meet with Chinese government officials, they’re always very concerned about this. Are people going to be happy about a thing? Is this going to actually serve the benefit of the people?
“It seems ironic, but even though you have sort of a single-party system, they really actually seem to care a lot about the well-being of the people.
“In fact, they’re maybe even more sensitive to public opinion than what I see in the US.”
Mathias Döpfner, the Business Insider’s interviewer and CEO of tech company Axel Springer SE, challenged the Tesla CEO over his remarks, decrying China’s human rights record.
He said: “China doesn’t care about human rights. How could there ever be an equal and level playing field. Do you really see an opportunity for Western democracies to win?”
Mr Musk responded, focusing on AI, by touting American tech giants Google and Deepmind’s superiority over similar Chinese outfits.
He then said: “China’s putting a lot of effort into AI. And they may be making progress. But I’ve not seen progress that is close to Google and DeepMind.”
China has previously been praised by Mr Musk in an earlier interview for the Automotive News podcast Daily Drive.
He said in July last year “China rocks in my opinion”, and added: “The energy in China is great. People there – there’s like a lot of smart, hard-working people.”
In the same interview he blasted “entitled’ and “complacent” people in the US, specifically in Los Angeles, California and New York.
He suggested the US has “been winning for too long” with technology, and added: “When you’ve been winning too long you take things for granted.”