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Tesla Achieves Data Security Clearance in China Amid High-Level Talks

In a significant development for Tesla, local Chinese authorities have lifted restrictions previously imposed on the automaker’s vehicles, following successful compliance with the country’s stringent data security regulations. 

This announcement came on the heels of Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s unexpected visit to Beijing, where he engaged in discussions with Chinese Premier Li Qiang during the city’s first major auto show in four years.

Tesla, whose electric cars are among the most sought-after in China, faced scrutiny over concerns related to data collection by the U.S.-based company. 

These concerns had led to restrictions, including bans from certain government properties. 

However, the specifics of which local authorities had imposed or removed these restrictions were not detailed in Tesla’s announcement.

Credits: DepositPhotos

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The lifting of restrictions aligns with broader concerns in international trade, particularly highlighted by the Biden administration’s ongoing investigation into whether imported cars from China could pose national security risks by collecting data about the U.S. and transmitting it back to China.

Tesla’s compliance with China’s new data security requirements marks a pivotal moment for the company. 

These rules, which were introduced in November and apply to “connected vehicles” released in 2022 and 2023, require cars to anonymize facial recognition data outside the vehicle, default to not collecting cockpit data, process that data inside the car, and notify users prominently about the processing of personal information.

Alongside Tesla’s Model 3 and Model Y, several new energy vehicles from other prominent Chinese manufacturers like BYD, Lotus, Nezha, Li Auto, and Nio also met the data security standards, as confirmed by the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers and the National Computer Network Emergency Response Technical Team/Coordination Center of China.

Credits: DepositPhotos

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In preparation for this compliance, Tesla had already localized its data storage for Chinese users at its Shanghai data center in 2021 and achieved the ISO 27001 international standard for information security following an external audit.

During Musk’s visit, there was also speculation about the potential Chinese rollout of Tesla’s ambitious Full Self Driving (FSD) software. 

However, analysts remain skeptical about the immediate prospects of this technology in China. 

Junheng Li, CEO and Head of Research at JL Warren Capital, expressed doubts on social media about the likelihood of a “supervised” version of FSD being launched in China soon. 

She highlighted the significant local competition in driver-assist software from companies like Xpeng, which have substantial government backing.

Credits: DepositPhotos

Premier Li’s presence at the Beijing auto show underscored the government’s focus on innovation and local industry support. 

His tour included visits to Xpeng and other local firms, signaling strong state support for domestic technologies.

Notably, Tesla chose not to exhibit at this year’s Beijing auto show, continuing its absence from the event since an incident at the 2021 Shanghai auto show, where a protester garnered significant attention by standing on one of its display cars. 

This auto show, which alternates between Beijing and Shanghai annually, was not held in 2022 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, adding to the importance of this year’s event.

This development represents a crucial step for Tesla in solidifying its position in the Chinese market, balancing compliance with stringent regulatory requirements while navigating complex geopolitical and trade landscapes.

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Malik is a skilled writer with a passion for news and current events. With their keen eye for detail, they provide insightful perspectives on the latest happenings. Stay informed and engaged!