BEIJING, November 3 (TMTPOST)— Qingdao, Shenyang or Shenzhen? The rumor about where Tesla’s next Gigafactory in China would land in sparked a heated debate among Chinese netizens these days.
It is said that Qingdao’s municipal government has contacted Tesla and tried to convince it to choose the port city in China’s eastern province Shandong as the location of its second Gigafactory in the country. Rumors also said Tesla has signed an agreement to select a site for the factory in Qingdao, located in the west of a production facility of the joint venture between FAW Group and Volkswagen Group. Beyond Qingdao, Hangzhou, Shenyang, Zhengzhou and Shenzhen are also possible destinations for the factory since authorities of these four cities rumored to offer Tesla their olive branches.
Source: Visual China
“The news about site location of Tesla’s second Gigafactory is untrue,”Grace Tao, Tesla's vice president for external relations, clarified through a post in the Chinese Twitter-like social media Weibo on Wednesday. It’s a great honor for Tesla to contribute to China’s new energy industry and the company would continue to step up investments in China, Tao added.
Though Tao dismissed the rumor, one cannot help weighing Qingdao’s potential as a candidate since it has attracted five automakers— FAW-Volkswagen, FAW Car, Beijing Electric Vehicle, SAIC-GM-Wuling Automobile and China National Heavy Duty Truck Group to produce vehicles there. According to the municipal government, 2020 saw nearly 1.2 million vehicles made in Qingdao, more than 1 million units for the third consecutive year, and the annual output of new energy vehicles (NEVs) reached a record high of about 130,000 units, which suggests automobile became the city’s No.1 industry and facilities there made about one twentieth and one tenth of the whole China’s auto outputs and NEV outputs respectively. And Qingdao’s rivals have their own advantages: Hangzhou is the capital of Zhejiang province, where is Tesla’s biggest local provincial market in China; Shenyang has deep background of auto industry; Zhengzhou owns sufficient workforce as a capital of central China province Henan with large population; Shenzhen is seemed as the cradle of Chinese electric vehicle industry.
The recent rumor came as Tesla posted impressive sales in China. It had sold 56,006 new vehicles and delivered 52,153 vehicles in September, with more than 300% of both year-over-year and month-over-month sales increases, and the sales in domestic market exceeded 200,000 units in the first nine months of the year, according to the China Passenger Car Association (CPCA). In comparison, none of the top three native EV makers—NIO, Xpeng and Li Auto sold more than 10,700 units that month.