FSD, robotics on official agenda as Shanghai mulls deeper ties with Tesla

Supply chain localization has benefited 360 suppliers, created 100,000 jobs, generated 700 billion yuan worth of orders, and helped 60 Chinese companies enter Tesla's global supply chain.

The Shanghai government will continue to support Tesla in laying out the groundwork for its full self-driving (FSD) and robotic businesses, a senior official said on Friday.

Shanghai will deepen its collaboration with Tesla and helped the firm to localize efforts in the FSD and robotic sectors — two areas that will lead to the construction of a more extensive supply chain, said Chen Kele.

Chen is the deputy director of the office of smart manufacturing promotion at the Shanghai Economic and Information Technology Commission, a top economic planner.

He made the remarks during a media visit on May 12 to Tesla’s Gigafactory in Shanghai’s Lingang New Area, where a Model Y SUV rolls off the production line every 40 seconds.

Chen’s words sent an important message that Tesla, now the world’s largest EV maker and seller, is poised to build on its early-mover advantage and success in China to double down on supply chain localization.

The goal is to build a tech cluster with core technological strengths and a global reach, said Chen.

Tesla unveiled the Tesla Bot last year, also known as Optimus, and released an updated version with better specs and functions in a video clip in March.

Chen also credited Tesla for making “positive” contributions to Shanghai’s bid to become a world-class auto industry center.

In 2022, Tesla’s Shanghai plant produced 727,000 cars, up 49.7% year on year, with an output of 183.9 billion yuan (US$26.43 billion).

Tesla alone represented 23% of the automotive industry’s revenue in Shanghai, and was responsible for adding 1.3 percentage points to the industrial growth rate last year.

Tesla is also at the heart of a new energy vehicle industry chain. Within a short period of time, 95% of its car parts are manufactured or sourced locally, said Chen.

Supply chain localization has benefited 360 suppliers, created 100,000 jobs, generated 700 billion yuan worth of orders, and helped 60 Chinese companies enter Tesla’s global supply chain.

These changes are conducive to technological improvement, supply chain optimization, scale-up and cost reduction of China’s EV industry, Chen noted.

Tesla Shanghai now employs over 24,000 people. As part of a talent recruitment program it partners with local colleges and vocational schools, it nurtured 670 individuals as of 2022.

Another 400 people took a so-called “newfangled” apprenticeship offered by Tesla, said Chen.

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Ni Tao

Ni Tao is the founder and editor-in-chief of cnrobopedia. Prior to cnrobopedia, he had a full decade of experience with a major state-run English-language newspaper as a tech reporter and opinion writer. He is also a communications specialist, having provided consultancy services to established firms like Siemens, Philips, ABinBev, Diageo, Trip.com Group (Nasdaq: TCOM, HK: 9961), Jianpu Technology (NYSE: JT) and a handful of domestic startups. A graduate of Fudan University, he writes widely about China's business and tech scenes and other topics for global publications including South China Morning Post, SupChina, The Diplomat, CGTN, Banking Technology, among others, and tries to impart his experience to students at Fudan University Journalism School, where he is a part-time lecturer. When he's not writing about robotics, you can expect him to be on his beloved Yanagisawa saxophones, trying to play some jazz riffs, often in vain and occasionally against the protests of an angry neighbor. Get in touch with him by dropping a line at nitao0927@gmail.com.

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