elon musk writes article for chinas internet censor

Elon Musk just wrote an article for an agency considered the top internet censor of China – the Cyberspace Administration – in the latest move from a US tech mogul to court the country’s authorities.

The article was titled “Believing in technology for a better future” and it was published in the agency’s monthly Cyberspace Magazine. Musk started the article by thanking the editors for giving him the opportunity to share his thoughts and went on to discuss topics related to how he and his companies are working to advance technology so humans can enjoy a better future.

According to the English translation of the article published by a substack newsletter writer named Yang Liu, Musk discussed the importance of solar energy, electrified transportation, electric-powered vehicles, and humanoid robots like the Tesla bot.

In a paragraph, he courted Chinese companies that are currently developing eco-friendly technologies and stated that they “will be a force to be reckoned within the cause of energy innovation”.

In addition, the head of Tesla and SpaceX also invited Chinese entrepreneurs to join his companies in helping the world in making the transition toward sustainable energy.

What is the Cyberspace Administration of China?

The Cyberspace Administration is in charge of overseeing the operations and reach of companies within the internet and tech sector. One of their most infamous tasks is to regulate the content that residents of the country have access to by blocking certain websites and apps at the ruling party’s discretion.

Many US-based mobile apps are banned from being accessed by Chinese individuals as a way to promote the creation of similar ventures by corporations within the country as is the case of Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Netflix.

In addition, the popular messaging app WhatsApp is also not available for individuals living in this country. Instead, they can rely on domestic platforms such as WeChat.

For US entrepreneurs to enter and succeed in this Asian country, they must play a delicate balancing act that involves courting the country’s Communist Party without offsetting authorities in the US.

Elon Musk’s Relationship with China Demands a Delicate Balance Act

Tesla is heavily dependent on how things in China go as they have built a large factory in the country named the Giga Shanghai. In addition, the company has plans to build another manufacturing facility in the country that will allow it to ramp up its installed capacity to 2 million vehicles per year.

In 2021, the company’s sales in the Asian country accounted for more than a quarter of its top-line results with $13.84 billion being sold in this region compared to almost $24 billion the firm generated from its operations in the United States.

Considering the importance of China for Tesla’s overall financial success, it is not strange that Musk accepts these kinds of invitations, wherever they come from.

Musk has been one of the few leaders of a US-based large tech company to have succeeded in establishing large operations in the country as others including Jeff Bezos from Amazon (AMZN), Sundar Pichai from Alphabet (GOOG), and Mark Zuckerberg from Meta Platforms (META) have mostly failed in courting their way to get the CCP’s blessing.

Even though his followers, who know him for being a vocal figure that hardly keeps his thoughts to himself even when it comes to the most controversial topics, may not be happy with his ambiguous stand on China, his business interests in the Asian country remain his top priority.

Interestingly, Musk justified his latest move to acquire Twitter as a nod to free speech as he considered this principle to be the “bedrock of a functioning democracy”. In this regard, the fact that he is creating content for a regulatory agency that is considered by many the enemy of free speech in China can be seen as an ironic twist.

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