Tesla claims to have established a data centre in China to store and process data generated by its vehicles locally. The announcement, which was made on Weibo, comes as the US automaker is under pressure from Chinese authorities over concerns that its vehicles could be used for spying.
“Car data security is critical,” Tesla stated (via Google Translate). “All data generated from vehicle sales on the Chinese mainland will be stored in China.”
According to The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg, Tesla vehicles have been banned from Chinese military sites, and “military staff and employees of key state-owned companies” are not permitted to own them.
According to reports, Chinese authorities were concerned that the exterior cameras on the cars could be used to collect sensitive data and send it back to the US.
Elon Musk responded by saying that if this were true, the company would be doomed in China. In March, Musk stated, “There is a very strong incentive for us to be very confidential with any information.”
“If Tesla used its vehicles to spy in China or anywhere else, we will be shut down.
Tesla must certainly keep China happy in order to ensure the company’s future growth. China has a market for electric vehicles that is three to four times the size of the United States.
According to Reuters, Tesla sold 147,445 vehicles in China last year, accounting for 30% of global sales.
The Chinese government published draft rules last month outlining its concerns about data collection by smart vehicles. According to the rules, data about roads, buildings, and terrain should not leave the country, and customers should be required to consent to data collection.
Tesla expressed support for the rules on Chinese social media accounts.