South Korea President Yoon Suk-yeol invites Elon Musk to build gigafactory

Seoul:  President Yoon Suk-yeol has asked Tesla CEO Elon Musk to build an electric vehicle plant in South Korea during a virtual meeting with the billionaire entrepreneur on Wednesday. Musk said he is considering South Korea as one of the top investment candidate sites.

Yoon made the request after Musk explained Tesla’s plans to build a gigafactory in Asia to produce finished EVs, and the CEO responded positively, the office said in a press release.

“President Yoon explained South Korea’s world-class auto industry ecosystem and investment conditions, and requested that he invest in South Korea,” it said, reports Yonhap News Agency.

“In response, Musk said he is considering South Korea as one of the top investment candidate sites, and that he plans to decide following a comprehensive review of Asian candidate countries’ investment conditions, including human and technological skills, and their production environment.”

Musk also said Tesla is a large buyer of excellent South Korean-made parts for its autonomous driving and artificial intelligence products and expressed a commitment to investing in South Korea’s EV charging infrastructure, according to the office.

He further estimated that the total value of parts purchases from South Korean businesses will exceed $10 billion next year, it said.

Yoon praised Musk for his successes in the EV and space industries, saying South Korea is working to develop its space industry from all sides. He mentioned the successful launch of the homegrown space rocket Nuri in June and called for cooperation between Musk’s SpaceX and South Korean space firms.

“President Yoon said that if there are unreasonable regulations hindering global high-tech innovation firms’ investment in South Korea, he will reform them to be in line with global standards,” his office said.

The virtual meeting came after Musk canceled his trip to Bali, Indonesia, earlier this month, where the two had been scheduled to meet in person, it said.

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