Elon Musk Names South Korea Top Contender for EV Investments: Yoon’s Office

SEOUL—Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk said on Wednesday that the South Korean presidential office said it was the top candidate for the factory Tesla plans to build in Asia to make electric vehicles (EVs). South Korea is included in one of the

Musk made the remarks during a video call with President Yoon Suk-yeol, adding that it plans to step up cooperation with South Korea on its supply chain.

Yoon knew of Tesla’s plans to build a factory in Asia in the future, so Yoon asked Musk to build one in South Korea, according to his office.

Mr. Musk responded by saying he sees South Korea as one of the front-runners and will make a decision after considering investments in other countries, including quality of labor, technology levels and production infrastructure.

Tesla was not available for comment outside of U.S. business hours when contacted by Reuters.

“In 2023, we plan to purchase over $10 billion worth of components from South Korean companies to significantly expand our supply chain cooperation with South Korean companies,” Yoon’s office quoted Musk.

Yoon and Musk’s contact comes ahead of a criminal trial addressing the safety of Tesla vehicles that is about to begin in South Korea at a time when EV makers are facing various lawsuits and increasing regulatory scrutiny. was done in

During the discussion, Yoon said he would reform unreasonable regulations that prevent investment by global tech companies, according to his office. The president added that the government will continue efforts to attract investment from high-tech companies to enhance the country’s competitiveness.

Indonesia, India, and other governments are already lobbying to get Tesla’s next investment in EV production.

In August, Indonesian President Joko Widodo urged Tesla to produce EVs domestically. The president and senior government officials said he had a meeting with Musk earlier this year, in which they asked him to consider the Southeast Asian country as a hub for car manufacturing, in addition to making batteries.

South Korea’s LG Energy Solution Ltd supplies batteries to Tesla, as do Japan’s Panasonic Corp Holding and China’s Contemporary Amperex Technology Co.

Analysts said Tesla could work closely with South Korean suppliers such as Samsung Electronics and LG Innotek if it built a factory in South Korea.

By Soo-hyang Choi and Heekyong Yang