Musk’s Plans for Starlink in China Derailed by Government


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Elon Musk’s efforts to launch SpaceX satellites into space have been stymied by the Chinese government, he said in an interview with Bloomberg on May 30. The Starlink constellation, which would provide broadband internet to underserved areas, was approved by the Federal Communications Commission in March, but Beijing has refused to approve it. It’s ironic that the first non-geostationary satellite system that will be live in China will be foreign owned, he said.

The Chinese government does not want Elon Musk to market his Starlink satellite internet business there, he told the Financial Times.

In its most recent “Lunch with the FT” column, which was published on Friday, the newspaper stated that Musk claimed Beijing had made clear its opposition to his recent rollout of Starlink, SpaceX’s satellite communications system, in Ukraine to assist the military in getting around Russia’s internet cutoff.

According to him, Beijing wanted guarantees that he wouldn’t market Starlink in China, the story stated.

Whether Musk complied with Beijing’s request was not made clear by The FT. The CEO of Tesla and SpaceX did not immediately respond to a request for comment from CNBC.

More than 20% of Musk’s electric vehicle company Tesla’s income comes from China, and the company has a sizable plant there.

China has refrained from using the term “invasion” to describe Russia’s war on Ukraine this year, in contrast to the United States and other nations.

In recent years, China has placed a larger focus on developing its own technologies, notably in the aircraft industry.

Chinese telecom behemoths like China Mobile and Huawei have contributed to China having one of the highest 5G internet adoption rates in the world.

Additionally, China’s Beidou satellite communications system was finished in 2020. The GPS, or Global Positioning System, is a competitor to the system.

In response to a request for comment from CNBC, the Chinese Ministry of Commerce and the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology did not immediately react.

According to the FT, Musk anticipates that Tesla will be involved in the “inevitable” fight over Taiwan but will still be able to serve its Chinese clients.

Beijing has often emphasised its desire for a peaceful reunion and regards the democratically self-governing island as a part of its territory.

According to the Financial Times (FT), Musk advised “figuring up a unique administrative zone for Taiwan that is relatively tolerable, definitely won’t make everyone pleased.”

A spokesperson for the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs responded to Musk’s suggestion that Taiwan be opened up by saying, “We remain committed to the fundamental principles of peaceful reunification and One Country, Two Systems and aim to work with the greatest sincerity and effort to achieve peaceful reunification.”

At a routine news conference on Saturday, the spokesman said, “At the same time, we will forcefully resist attempts to further the ‘Taiwan independence’ separatist agenda, fight back intervention by external forces, and preserve our sovereignty and territorial integrity.

China’s ambassador to the United States, Qin Gang, hailed Musk for the concept in a tweet.


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