Elon Musk Speaks At Tesla's Giga Shanghai, Raves About Positive Energy

Elon Musk Speaks At Tesla's Giga Shanghai, Raves About Positive Energy

Tesla CEO Elon Musk just wrapped up his long-awaited China visit after reportedly not being there since 2020. He had various meetings with officials, though he ended the trip with a brief stop at Giga Shanghai, as expected.

Elon Musk doesn't hide his admiration for the work ethic and his rivals in China, nor does he shy away from praising his executive team and employees there. What was not long ago a "muddy field" is now home to one of the most productive EV facilities in the world, producing Tesla's electric cars and SUVs for the domestic market and for export.

While Musk has also made it clear that there are many issues in China, and that we should definitely be concerned about the US' relationship with the country, he was wise to get into the transitioning auto market there, and it appears the timing was right. Not only is China home to the largest car market in the world, but also an example of what others should be doing when it comes to adopting EVs.

At the time, Tesla’s Shanghai factory was operating under a “closed-loop” system during the city’s two-month-long COVID lockdown. Workers lived and slept on-site to stop a COVID outbreak from disrupting production.

In April, employees in Shanghai complained that Tesla had slashed performance bonuses following a fatal accident at the factory a few months earlier. Frustrated employees took to Twitter, sending a flurry of messages to both Musk and his mother to complain about the decision. (Twitter is banned in China, but tech-savvy Chinese users can evade Beijing’s controls.)

The Tesla CEO responded on Twitter, saying he was “looking into” the complaints.

‘Laptop class’

Musk has been less effusive when talking about workers in the U.S. In his FT interview last year, he said American workers “are trying to avoid going to work at all.”

In June 2022, Musk revoked remote work privileges for Tesla’s corporate employees, demanding full-time in-person work, which he said was “less” than what was asked of factory workers. Musk also ended Twitter’s policy on working-from-home soon after taking over the social media company last October.