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Tesla promises data collected in China will stay in China

The Chinese government has concerns about sensitive information being collected by the cameras on Elon Musk's all-electric vehicles.

Tesla China Data
Chinese data will be stored in China, Tesla says.
Tesla/Craig Cole/Roadshow

In news that should shock absolutely no one, Tesla has pledged that any data its cars collect in China will remain in the country, Indian business site Mint reported on Tuesday. There are concerns these all-electric vehicles' cameras could record sensitive information in the communist nation.

"Tesla China is a company that's based here and must abide by all Chinese laws and regulations," Grace Tao, Tesla's head of communications and government affairs in the People's Republic, told Mint. She added that any information collected in the country will be well protected. "Chinese data will be stored in China."

The news comes after Teslas were banned from Chinese military facilities in March over concerns about data collection, even though the automaker said its vehicles' built-in cameras are disabled outside North America. Tesla does not operate a public relations department to field requests for comment.

China is a hugely important market for Tesla, indeed, for practically every automaker. Operating in the most populous nation on Earth, one with a middle class that's estimated to be around 400 million people, or more than the entire population of the US, is a must for any car company with global ambitions. But whether it's China, Chile, Canada or Cameroon, Tesla CEO Elon Musk has no choice but to play by the local rules in order to sell his cars.

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