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Shanghai government to help Tesla resume production amid coronavirus epidemic

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FILE PICTURE: Tesla China-made Model 3 vehicles are seen during a delivery event at its factory in Shanghai, China Jan. 7, 2020. REUTERS/Aly Song/File Photo

SHANGHAI (Reuters) – U.S. electric carmaker Tesla’s (TSLA.O) factory in China’s financial hub of Shanghai will resume production on Feb. 10 with assistance to help it cope with a spreading epidemic of coronavirus, a Shanghai government official said on Saturday.

Many factories across China shut in late January for the Lunar New Year holiday that was originally due to end on Jan. 30 but which was extended in a bid to contain the spread of the new flu-like virus that has killed more than 700 people.

Tesla warned on Jan. 30 that it would see a 1-1.5 week delay in the ramp-up of Shanghai-built Model 3 cars as a result of the epidemic, which has severely disrupted communications and supply chains across China.

Tesla Vice President Tao Lin said this week that production would restart on Feb. 10.

“In view of the practical difficulties key manufacturing firms including Tesla have faced in resuming production, we will coordinate to make all efforts to help companies resume production as soon as possible,” Shanghai municipal government spokesman Xu Wei said.

The $2 billion Shanghai factory is Tesla’s first outside the United States and was built with support from local authorities. It started production in October and began deliveries last month.

The Shanghai government also said on Saturday it would ask banks to extend loans with preferential rates to small companies and exempt firms in hard-hit sectors like hospitality from value-added tax, among other measures to prop up businesses during the epidemic.

Such assistance would also apply to foreign companies, it added.

Reporting by Brenda Goh and Samuel Shen; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell and Stephen Coates

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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China station admits New Year’s drone show was prerecorded

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A Shanghai TV station has acknowledged that footage of a formation of 2,000 drones flying over the city broadcast on New Year’s Eve had actually been prerecorded days before

BEIJING —
A Shanghai TV station has acknowledged that footage of a formation of 2,000 drones flying over the city broadcast on New Year’s Eve had actually been prerecorded days before.

The footage had been the highlight of Dragon TV’s holiday gala and presented as occurring live. News organizations including The Associated Press published the video.

However Shanghai residents said they had witnessed no such event, prompting the network to issue a statement saying the event was rehearsed and recorded on Dec. 26 and Dec. 27 because of safety concerns about the size of the crowd along the city’s famous riverfront Bund on New Year’s Eve.

“Due to the high crowd at the Bund on New Year’s Eve, watching the drone show may cause safety problems, so the rehearsal and recording time of the drone was moved forward,” the station said in its statement.

The decision was likely informed by memories of a Dec. 31, 2014, stampede on the Bund in which 36 people were killed and 49 injured when a crowd of 300,000 gathered to watch a light show. Several city officials were fired or otherwise reprimanded over the tragedy.

Large crowd sizes in China during holidays are a regular worry, resulting in everything from crushing deaths to massive traffic jams.

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