- Elon Musk is getting a royal welcome in China.
- During a surprise visit to the country, Musk has been inundated with high praise, Reuters reported.
- His trip has caused a social-media storm, with people eager to recommend places for him to visit.
Elon Musk received a 5-star welcome during a surprise trip to China as the nation heaped praise on the billionaire, holding him in the same high esteem as business magnate Jack Ma.
Reuters reported that Musk arrived in Beijing by private jet on Tuesday. It was the Tesla and Twitter boss’s first trip to China in three years, making his visit a high-profile affair for members of the public. Musk’s views on electric vehicles and artificial intelligence are of particular interest.
Since arriving, Musk has been called “Brother Ma” and greeted by top ministers from the Chinese government’s foreign, commerce, and industry departments, Reuters reported in a separate article on Wednesday, with social-media users labeling him a “global idol.”
People have also taken to Weibo to make recommendations to Musk on what food he should try during his time in China. A viral poll with more than 13,000 votes, seen by Insider, lists foods including Peking duck, street snack “tang hulu” and mung bean dish “douzhi” as options.
Posts on social media, seen by Insider, also show how Musk’s menu at a restaurant in Beijing was customized with an image of the Tesla logo and two dark horses accompanied by a Chinese phrase that translates as “the horse that surges ahead of the pack.”
Reuters reported the evening included a 16-course meal shared with battery executive Zeng Yuqun at the Man Fu Yan restaurant.
The praise for Musk in China is in stark contrast to the polarized response the billionaire has faced in the West in recent months, as his ownership and management of Twitter drew criticism and praise alike from users of the app.
The visit to China by Musk also comes at a low point in US relations with China, as tensions over Taiwan and Xi Jinping’s stance over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine are threatening to boil over.
Musk has made China a critical part of Tesla operations in recent years, seeing a big opportunity to sell electric vehicles to Chinese consumers. However, Tesla is facing increased pressure in China from growing domestic competition, Reuters reported.
The billionaire, who has previously called himself a “free-speech absolutist,” has not commented publicly about his trip to the country. Twitter is blocked in China.
Musk did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.