December 27, 2018 / 1:21 PM / 20 days ago

Tesla sets up Shanghai financial leasing unit as China plans accelerate

FILE PHOTO: A Tesla Model 3 car is displayed during a media preview at the Auto China 2018 motor show in Beijing, China April 25, 2018. REUTERS/Jason Lee/File Photo

BEIJING (Reuters) - Tesla Inc (TSLA.O) has registered a financial leasing company in China, a local business registration filing shows, in the latest sign the U.S. electric car maker is attempting to speed up its push into China.

The California-based carmaker, led by billionaire Chief Executive Elon Musk, has opened a wholly-owned financial leasing unit in Shanghai’s free trade zone with registered capital of $30 million, according to China’s National Enterprise Information Publicity System.

Its scope includes leasing and consultancy, the document said, which listed the firm’s legal representative as Zhu Xiaotong, Tesla’s boss in China.

Tesla declined to comment.

The company has opened a tender process to build its Shanghai Gigafactory and at least one contractor has started buying materials, Reuters reported earlier this month.

The $2 billion factory, Tesla’s first in China, marks a major bet by the U.S. electric vehicle (EV) maker as it looks to bolster its presence in the world’s biggest auto market where it faces rising competition from a swathe of domestic EV makers and its earnings have been hit by increased tariffs on U.S. imports.

Reporting by Yilei Sun in Beijing and Adam Jourdan in Shanghai; editing by Jason Neely

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