And Kia isn't the only carmaker ramping up its Chinese investment. Tesla CEO Elon Musk has been described as having a love affair with the People's Republic, praising its "economic prosperity" on the Communist Party's centenary. Since investing $2 billion (£1.7bn) to build the Tesla gigafactory in Shanghai, completed in 2019, Musk has launched the company's insurance broker in China and joined a lawsuit with 3,500 other US businesses suing the American government for imposing tariffs on Chinese goods. And he hasn't stopped there.
On 31 December 2021, Tesla opened a showroom in Xinjiang, a controversial region linked to allegations of slave labour and genocide. Musk's actions have sparked fierce criticism, but his Chinese investment seems to be paying off. In August 2022, Musk announced on Twitter that the company had manufactured its one millionth car in the country.
Sources revealed last year that production at a Tesla factory in Shanghai would be kept at 93% capacity for the remainder of 2022, despite initially upgrading its weekly output by 30%. It's likely that persistent COVID-19 lockdowns played a part – but the latest data suggests the situation has improved. Between January and mid-March this year, Tesla sold more than 1,300 cars per day on average in China, making the period one of its strongest quarters in the country so far, and the company hit another record when sales jumped almost 20% this June.