Tesla’s China operations have been anything but smooth thus far. China accounts for about thirty percent of Tesla’s sales, making it the electric car maker’s second-biggest market. The company’s Shanghai plant that now makes Model 3 and Model Y was intended to increase its presence in the world’s biggest car market and export cars to other countries in Asia and Europe. However, it has been criticized for poor quality control, which prompted the Chinese authorities to pull up the American EV manufacturer for not paying heed to the safety concerns of its citizens. To make things worse, some recent reports have suggested that few Government offices in China have asked its officials not to park their Tesla cars inside the office compound over the suspicion of the cameras installed on the vehicles being used as a tool to spy.
From what we know so far, at least two government agencies in Beijing and Shanghai have verbally instructed their officials not to park their Tesla electric cars near the office buildings. There’s no clarity if all government offices in Beijing have imposed such restrictions, nor do we know if such advisories have been nationwide. But the security concerns over the data captured by the cameras and sensors installed in Tesla cars have been raised with Tesla earlier. These sensors and cameras are vital for the car’s driving-assist features to work. Elon Musk has often reiterated the importance of the data collected, which is crucial for developing autonomous driving. In March, China even banned Tesla cars from being parked near high-security zones such as military complexes claiming that they might be wrongfully used for spying. Elon Musk responded to the ban, saying that it would be shut down if his company used cars to spy in China or anywhere. The Tesla CEO even tried addressing the issue by claiming that the company would open a data center in China and is developing a data platform for car owners in China.