Tesla’s Shanghai gigafactory will start production by the end of the year, according to a local official who also said that consumers will be able to buy Shanghai-made Tesla model 3 early next year.
Ma Chunlei, director of the city’s development and reform commission, said that about 3,000 vehicles can be manufactured weekly at the Shanghai plant by the end of 2019.
He was speaking at a press conference of the State Council Information Office in Beijing.
The Tesla factory in Pudong’s Lingang area, with an investment of over 50 billion yuan (US$7.3 billion), is the largest foreign-invested manufacturing project in Shanghai's history. It is also Tesla's first plant outside the United States.
The automaker signed an agreement with the city government in July 2018 to build a factory. In October, the company got the approval to use an 864,885-square-meter tract of land in Lingang to set up its Shanghai plant.
Construction started in January and the main structure has been completed. Installation work is currently being carried out for the production facilities, he added.
Ma said the city’s approval efficiency and optimized business environment have been praised by the Tesla CEO Elon Musk.
“This year will be a major construction year for Shanghai’s mass industrial projects,” Ma said. Apart from Tesla, about 220 other projects will start construction work later this year involving a total investment of 200 billion yuan.
Shanghai is now home to over 50,000 foreign companies, including some 600 headquarters of multinational corporations and over 400 research and development centers. The city boasts the largest number of foreign-invested headquarters among all Chinese cities.
“The city will work to maintain its status as the destination of choice for foreign investors in China,” Shanghai Mayor Ying Yong said at the same conference. “Openness is the biggest advantage Shanghai enjoys,” he added.
Shanghai’s legislators are preparing its own regulations in line with the new Foreign Investment Law, which will take effect next year. Ying said the new law will help Shanghai further open up and attract foreign investment.
Companies from Shanghai have also left their footprints in 178 countries and regions. The Belt and Road Initiative has offered new opportunities of growth for Shanghai’s foreign business and trade, according to the city government.