Tesla registers Shanghai construction unit in acceleration of China plans

FILE PHOTO: The Tesla logo is pictured on a car during the electric car E-Rallye Baltica 2019 in Bauska, Latvia, July 23, 2019. REUTERS/Ints Kalnins/File Photo

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - U.S. electric vehicle maker Tesla Inc has registered a construction company in China, a business registration filing shows, the latest sign Tesla is pushing ahead with its plans in the world’s biggest auto market.

California-based Tesla has opened a wholly-owned construction unit in Shanghai with registered capital of $1 million, according to China’s National Enterprise Information Publicity System.

Its scope includes architectural design, construction and building materials, the document said. It listed the firm’s legal representative as Zhu Xiaotong, Tesla’s boss in China.

Tesla did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

While the purpose of the construction company remains unclear, Tesla has been building car manufacturing facilities in Shanghai since January with an estimated annual capacity of 250,000 vehicles for the initial phase.

The $2 billion factory, Tesla’s first in China, was a major bet by the company as it faces more competition from domestic electric vehicle makers and its earnings have been hit by increased tariffs on U.S. imports.

Reporting by Yilei Sun and John Ruwitch in Shanghai; editing by Grant McCool