Elon Musk, Tesla CEO and SpaceX Founder, has claimed that the Chinese government doesn’t want him to sell Starlink satellite internet in China.
The SpaceX initiative is a satellite constellation system which aims to deliver impeccable global internet coverage, even in hard to reach rural and isolated areas where connectivity is weak or non-existent.
In a new column from the Financial Times, the newspaper wrote: “Musk says Beijing has made clear its disapproval of his recent rollout of Starlink, SpaceX’s satellite communications system, in Ukraine to help the military circumvent Russia’s cut-off of the internet.
“He says Beijing sought assurances that he would not sell Starlink in China.”
China, unlike other countries’ condemning the war ordered by Vladimir Putin on Ukraine, has refused to call the attack an invasion.
Back in February Musk sent a large shipment of Starlink satellite dishes to Ukraine, just two days after Putin sent troops into the country. This has continued throughout the invasion, helping Ukraine’s military to remain connected.
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The satellite shipments have been heavily praised by Ukraine officials and leaders, with Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelenskyy telling Wired: “It helped us a lot, in many moments related to the blockade of our cities, towns, and related to the occupied territories.”
Musk’s satellite internet service is currently available in around 40 countries, but the CEO has not yet sold it in China.
Musk, who relies on China for over 20% of Tesla’s revenue, didn’t tell the FT whether or not he had agreed to Beijing’s request.
The billionaire also houses a large Tesla factory in Shanghai which has become one of the electric car giant’s main export hubs.
Chinese state media has reported that SpaceX has no plans to apply for an operating license in China, Yahoo reported.
Internet connectivity in China is only accessible through state-owned providers and is heavily censored and restricted.
The third largest country in the world has also been pushing their own technology, including launching astronauts to their space station for the first time ever in June.
China Mobile and Huawei, both based in China, have led the country to having one of the highest penetrations of 5G internet in the world, CNBC reported.
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