How to Grease a Chatbot: E-Commerce Companies Seek a Backdoor Into AI ResponsesRead more

The Voyah Free SUV is among the challengers to Tesla's luxury crown in China. Photo by Bloomberg.

The Electric: Homegrown Brands Challenge Tesla’s Lock on China’s Luxury EV Market

Photo: The Voyah Free SUV is among the challengers to Tesla's luxury crown in China. Photo by Bloomberg.

Today's column is by Dalibor Petkovic, a researcher specializing in Chinese industrial policies. Since 2017, he has focused on the Chinese EV market, as well as smart cities, urban logistics and battery recycling management. 

The emergence of electric vehicles in the past decade offered Chinese automakers—viewed as producing low-quality basic cars that sell for little profit—a chance to break into the more profitable luxury car market. Tesla beat them to the punch and now dominates the luxury EV market in China. Domestic manufacturers are scrambling to catch up, with little success so far. 

Tesla’s China sales exploded after it opened its Shanghai Gigafactory in October 2019, allowing the company to escape China’s 40% tariff on cars imported from the U.S. The price of an extended-range Model 3 dropped overnight to $45,600, from $64,000. Tesla’s China sales increased 161% in 2019 and doubled again in 2020. In the first half of this year, Tesla sold more than half of all EV luxury cars—defined as those that sell for more than $45,000—according to data from the China Passenger Car Association. Tesla’s Model Y was the best-selling luxury SUV in China, outpacing the Mercedes GLC and Audi Q5. 

Access on the go
View stories on our mobile app and tune into our weekly podcast.
Join live video Q&A’s
Deep-dive into topics like startups and autonomous vehicles with our top reporters and other executives.
Enjoy a clutter-free experience
Read without any banner ads.
Microsoft's Satya Nadella, left, and Peter Lee. Photo by Bloomberg, Microsoft
Exclusive
How Microsoft Swallowed Its Pride to Make a Massive Bet on OpenAI
Satya Nadella didn’t want to hear it. Last December, Peter Lee, who oversees Microsoft’s sprawling research efforts, was briefing Nadella, Microsoft’s CEO, and his deputies about a series of tests Microsoft had conducted of GPT-4, the then-unreleased new artificial intelligence large-language model built by OpenAI.
Art by Clark Miller
The AI Age e-commerce ai
How to Grease a Chatbot: E-Commerce Companies Seek a Backdoor Into AI Responses
When Andy Wilson’s company received its first successful client referral through ChatGPT, he was shaken to his core.
Chris Britt, co-founder and CEO of Chime.
Exclusive startups Finance
Chime’s Slowdown Highlights Limits of Bank Disruptors
Chime found a way to offer zero-fee banking services without being a bank itself. But that approach is starting to show its limits.
Art by Clark Miller
The Big Read markets Finance
The Master of Destruction Rides Again
In the spring of 2022, the irascible Wall Street short seller Marc Cohodes was in a particularly foul mood.
Art by Mike Sullivan
startups asia
Venture Capitalists Face Pressure to Divest From China
Silicon Valley venture capitalists are coming to terms with a new reality: Their once-prized China investments may be victims of a simmering cold war.
Chart by Mike Sullivan.
Data Point enterprise
Enterprise Software’s Laggards: Firms Growing Slowly And Still Burning Cash
It’s the age-old refrain in American business: You have to spend money to make money. And it’s particularly true of the tech industry, where startups pour millions into untested new businesses and technologies.