Why Tesla is hiring for public relations, government positions in China

Tesla, which gets almost a quarter of its revenue from China versus about half from the U.S., has a factory in Shanghai where it builds Model 3s. It plans to export China-made EVs to countries including Singapore, Australia and New Zealand, as well as Europe as soon as the end of this year or early 2021, people familiar with the matter said last month.

Although China is already the world’s largest car market, the potential upside is huge. Vehicle penetration is still low and there’s a rising middle class able to afford personal transport for the first time. EVs in China are also much cheaper than in Europe and the U.S., and the Chinese consumer is more tech savvy and likely to be an early adopter.

Cheap in China

The position, described as a regional external relations manager, will be responsible for “establishing and maintaining a positive corporate image of Tesla in regional markets,” building contacts with media, government agencies and industry groups. Responsibilities may involve arranging media interviews for executives, conducting policy research and connecting with local governments. The ads were posted in late August.

Tesla delivered 69,514 domestically built Model 3s in the first eight months of 2020, making it the No. 1 player in China followed by BYD Co. with more than 40,000 cars, registration data show. Tesla is however facing greater competition from China’s legions of smaller EV firms, including NIO Inc., Xpeng Inc. and SAIC-GM Wuling Automobile Co., which has a an EV for less than $5,000.

Volkswagen Group’s Audi is also expanding its partnership with Chinese manufacturer FAW, saying earlier this week a memorandum of understanding was signed to start a company that will produce electric cars in China from 2024.

To boost China sales, Tesla has been rolling out price cuts, bringing the starting price of Model 3s to as low as 249,900 yuan ($36,800). People familiar have said that move has been aided by cheaper batteries from Fujian-based Contemporary Amperex Technology Co.

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