Tesla shareholder Tencent backs Elon Musk despite Twitter distraction
A Tesla store in Changzhou, China, in April 2022. Tencent, known as one of the world’s largest gaming and social media companies, invested in Tesla in 2017, holding holds a 5% stake for about $1.78 billion.
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Tesla will “continue to blow our minds” with technology even as CEO Elon Musk gets distracted by Twitter, according to the chief executive who led the investment from the Chinese tech giant Tencent to the American electric car manufacturer.
Tencent, known as one of the largest gaming and social media companies in the world, invest in Tesla in 2017took a 5% stake for about $1.78 billion.
David Wallerstein, director of “eXploration” (CXO) at Tencent, said: “We see great potential in the company’s electric vehicle category but also have great respect for the way Elon is running the company. “. CNBC in an interview on Thursday.
As CXO, Wallerstein is tasked with investing in emerging technology for Tencent.
He said that when Tencent invested, “it wasn’t clear that they would survive and electric cars would actually exist.”
Since then, Tesla has become one of the largest electric car companies in the world. It delivered 1.31 million vehicles by 2022.
But last year, Musk bought Twitter, a move that investors see as a major distraction for the billionaire at a time when Tesla needs a steady hand. Tesla shares have fallen about 62% in the last year.
Wallerstein says that despite the distraction, he still believes in Tesla.
“Certainly, if a leader is scattered among many companies it will be difficult to focus and Elon has a lot of projects. I think they are still doing very well,” Wallerstein said.
He added that there will likely be some competition but that it will be “really good for the planet” as electric car sales pick up.
“I’ll count on them [Tesla] to continue to blow our minds with what they do with technology,” said Wallerstein.
Tencent is a major investor in a variety of industries ranging from gaming to e-commerce. But the company recently sold some of its shares amid a tighter regulatory environment in China.
But Wallerstein is on the hunt for investments in next-generation sectors that can aid the fight against global challenges like climate change. Tencent has invested in companies like Chinese electric cars Nio and the German “flying” car company Lilium.