Feb. 7 (UPI) — A leaked document showing plans for a joint venture between U.S. automaker Tesla Motors and a Chinese partner is drawing widespread speculation the company is planning a production site in Shanghai.
According to a source who spoke to Chinese news service Caixin, the U.S. electric carmaker could be moving ahead with planned operations in the world’s second-largest economy.
Tesla’s China office, however, has denied the reports, Caixin reported.
The document in question details a 50/50 joint venture between Tesla and an unidentified Chinese enterprise. The factory would aim to produce 500,000 cars annually, according to the contract that was made available online.
Caixin’s source did not give details regarding the stage of negotiation or whether the talks were still active.
The cars would be localized for the Chinese market, according to the report, and Tesla’s Asia chief Ren Yuxiang had said in January Tesla has wanted to open a China-based research and development center.
Last June, an unnamed source told Bloomberg a Shanghai-based state company, Jinqiao Group, had signed a non-binding agreement to build a Tesla production facility.
The investment was valued at $9 billion, but talks of the plan subsided until recently.
The deal, if confirmed, would be worth more than the $5.5 billion Shanghai Disney Resort.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk recently joined U.S. President Donald Trump’s economic advisory council as an adviser, CNET reported.
Musk said he is to counsel the president on manufacturing issues, and to accelerate the “world’s transition to sustainable energy and to help make humanity a multi-planet civilization.”
Musk, however, has opposed the restrictive immigration orders that have been proposed by the new administration.
His companies SpaceX and Tesla are among the 97 firms that signed a document supporting a lawsuit proposed by Washington state.