China bars Tesla cars from some of its government compounds

People with knowledge of the matter have it that staff at some Chinese government offices have been told not to park their Tesla Inc cars inside government compounds due to security concerns over cameras installed on the vehicles.

The people said officials of at least two government agencies in Beijing and Shanghai have been instructed verbally by supervisors not to park their Tesla electric cars at work.

It wasn’t clear how many cars were affected. It wasn’t immediately clear whether all government offices in Beijing have imposed such restrictions, nor whether the measure was a formal government injunction or a step adopted by agency officials.

While there are sensors and cameras that can assist driving feature in many automakers’ vehicles, the restriction currently only applies to Tesla cars.

In March, Tesla vehicles were banned from entering some military complexes in China, sources told Reuters then, citing security concerns over vehicle cameras.

The restriction provides a fresh indication of China’s continued wariness of the U.S. electric carmaker amid tensions with Washington.

Facing greater scrutiny after safety and highly publicised customer service complaints in China, Tesla is boosting its engagement with mainland regulators and beefing up its government relations team.

China, the world’s biggest car market, is the electric car maker’s second-biggest market, accounting for about 30% of its sales. Tesla now makes electric Model 3 sedans and Model Y sport-utility vehicles in a Shanghai plant.

Automakers like Tesla have been equipping more vehicles with cameras and sensors that capture images of a car’s surroundings.

Control of how those images are used and where they are sent and stored is a fast-emerging challenge for the industry and regulators around the world.

Tesla cars have several external cameras to assist drivers with parking, changing lanes and other features.

Chief Executive Elon Musk has commented frequently on the value of the data that Tesla vehicles capture which can be used to develop autonomous driving.

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