Tesla China Chief Tom Zhu’s Promotion: A significant promotion has been offered to Tesla’s China president. According to Tuesday’s media sources, Tom Zhu has been responsible for Tesla’s North American and European sales activities and its US assembly plants, leaving only the Berlin Gigafactory outside of his purview.
The revelations have increased rumors that Zhu, born in China, is being prepared to succeed Elon Musk as CEO of the largest electric car manufacturer in the world. What precisely do we know about him?
‘Pragmatic’ and ‘Workaholic’
The Covid lockdowns in China, the automaker’s most significant international market, have significantly impacted the firm. Zhu, now the highest-profile Tesla executive behind Musk, has contributed substantially to this.
He is reportedly being appointed when Musk is preoccupied with his purchase of Twitter, and Tesla’s stock fell 65% in 2022.
However, since December, Chinese media has reported that Zhu was being prepared for a more extensive worldwide role at the electric manufacturer. Tesla did not reply to CNN’s requests for comment.
Daniel Ives, managing director and senior stock research analyst covering the tech sector at Wedbush Securities, said, “Zhu is a core leader at Tesla and a cornerstone to its success, notably in China.”
Chinese media have characterized Zhu, who joined Tesla in 2014, as “pragmatic,” “industrious,” and “a workaholic.”
“I wanna sleep so much, but the job is so damn interesting,” he said in a 2019 post on his Weibo account.
Since joining Tesla, Zhu hasn’t made many public appearances, and his age and private life aren’t well-known. He was born in China, but CNN could not determine whether he is currently a citizen of that country.
His social media profiles indicate that he graduated with a bachelor’s degree from Auckland University of Technology in 2004 and an MBA from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business.
He established a project management consultancy business before joining Tesla, where he guided Chinese contractors looking to expand abroad.
Zhu was shown working from an open office and hardly having time for breakfast in a 2021 interview with the Jiefang Daily in Shanghai, the Communist Party’s official newspaper in the city’s financial center.
In one of the few interviews Zhu has taken part in since joining Tesla, he noted, “Efficiency and pragmatism are a hallmark of our organization.
‘Getting your Hands Dirty
Last year, Zhu provided more information about his personal life and working approach in a separate video interview conducted by PCauto, a privately owned Chinese news service.
The CEO of Tesla for China does not have a glamorous life. Because it is close to the enormous Shanghai factory, he rents a low-cost public residence for less than 2,000 yuan ($290) every month.
Living close to your place of employment is “very convenient,” according to Zhu. Along with using a carpool, he begins work around 6 or 7 in the morning and frequently stays until midnight.
Additionally, he admitted that he frequently contacted Musk to discuss matters at work or plans, which, according to Zhu, made him “feel incredibly enthusiastic.”
In 2019, after numerous typhoons damaged the drainage system at the Shanghai facility, Zhu and other Tesla workers physically drained water with plastic buckets while it was raining.
According to him, the company’s entrepreneurial spirit and culture are represented by “getting your hands dirty.”
Tesla’s China Success
Following an outstanding performance by Tesla’s China operations, Zhu was reportedly promoted.
In the largest auto market in the world since 2014, Tesla has experienced significant growth. In 2019, it completed the construction of the Shanghai Gigafactory in under 10 months for a price that was 65% less than that of the American Model 3 manufacturing facility.
It quickly grew to be the world’s largest EV manufacturing facility. More than half of the 936,000 vehicles that Tesla delivered in 2021 came from the Shanghai factory.
According to Musk, in August 2022, the firm produced over three million automobiles, with one million coming from Shanghai. The Shanghai factory delivered more than 100,000 automobiles in November, breaking its previous monthly record. All of this was accomplished after Covid limitations last year forced the factory to briefly halt manufacturing.
Tesla’s sales in China exceeded forecasts as well. In the first three quarters of 2022, Tesla brought in $13.6 billion, a 51% increase over the same period in 2017.