Elon Musk names S. Korea among top candidates for EV investment
The South Korean President asks Elon Musk to invest in the country amid Tesla's plans to build another electric car manufacturing factory in Asia.
South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol has asked Tesla founder Elon Musk to invest in the production of electric vehicles (EV) in South Korea, the Yonhap news agency reported on Wednesday.
Earlier in the day, Yoon had a virtual meeting with Musk, where he asked the billionaire entrepreneur to "invest in South Korea" amid Tesla's plans to build another electric car manufacturing gigafactory in Asia, the agency reported.
According to Yonhap, Yoon told Musk that he would reform unreasonable regulations that hindered investment by global tech companies.
The South Korean President also affirmed that the government would continue its effort to attract investment from high-tech companies to enhance the country's competitiveness.
On his part, Musk said he considers South Korea as "one of the top investment candidate sites" and explained that before making a decision, a comprehensive review of the investment conditions of candidate countries in Asia, such as personnel, technology level, and production environment, will be conducted, Yonhap mentioned.
"We expect to buy components worth more than $10 billion from South Korean firms in 2023 as we significantly expand supply chain cooperation with South Korean companies," Yoon's office quoted Musk as saying.
The Tesla founder said his company buys a lot of South Korean-made components in the field of autonomous driving and artificial intelligence, expressing readiness to actively invest in the South Korean electric vehicle charging infrastructure.
According to Yonhap, Yoon asked for cooperation between Musk's SpaceX company and the South Korean space industry and pointed to the successful launch of the Nuri space rocket this summer.
The virtual meeting between Yoon and Musk comes ahead of a criminal trial in South Korea that questions the safety of Tesla cars, as the automotive company is facing a number of lawsuits by regulators.
However, Indonesia, India, and other governments are already lobbying to win Tesla's next investment in electric vehicle production.