Auto show protestor gives Tesla Shanghai surprise

Media attention across China adds to pressure on Elon Musk’s company, which is already under regulators’ spotlight. Incident comes as business events operating again at capacity

CHINA’S auto shows and other business events may be back in full swing, but organisers and venues now have other concerns besides Covid prevention – sudden surprises when attendees voice grievances.

Security personnel swung into action at the Shanghai Auto show when a woman stood on the roof a Tesla and shouted claims of brake malfunction in the electric car her father had been driving when it crashed.

The woman, surnamed Zhang, has been detained by police for five days but the incident has been reported across China’s media. This is despite attempts by security at the exhibition centre using umbrellas in a vain attempt to prevent the stunt being videoed and the usually firm controls on what media in China can report.

CNN Business quoted city police as saying Zhang and another woman visited the event at the National Exhibition and Convention Centre, Shanghai, to “express their dissatisfaction”.

Police said Zhang “forcibly climbed onto the roof of a show car, causing damage to the vehicle” on April 19 as the show opened to the media for two days before the full April 21-28 event got underway.

More… Chengdu event sees China auto biz back on road

Executives at Tesla, which has a factory in Shanghai, said data from the car involved in the accident would show the driver was speeding and described the incident at the auto show as a stunt.

Widespread media reports of protests in mainland China are rare but this incident was covered across print and social media with state news agency Xinhua criticising Tesla for arrogance.

More again… China auto shows continue to rev

Media reaction comes as China regulators clamp down on what is seen as freewheeling business entrepreneurs such as Jack Ma, the founder of online retail giant Alibaba. Moves by one of Ma’s companies into online credit have been blocked by regulators.

Trade shows and business events were quick to recover in China as Covid outbreaks came under control. Among the international  events taking place this month is the world renowned Canton Fair.

Picture sources: Baidu and Teslarati

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