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Tesla Jumps as Asian Expansion Ramps Up (Update 1)

Updated from 8:12 a.m. EST to provide analyst comments in the ninth paragraph.

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Tesla Motors (TSLA - Get Report) is beginning to see traction outside the U.S. as its international expansion gets underway. Tesla's global plans will have big implications for the company and for the stock.

In an interview with Bloomberg, Kenneth Lui, a Tesla sales manager based in Hong Kong, said the company has received "hundreds of orders" for the Model S sedan already despite having yet to establish a retail price for the car in the Chinese city.

A base edition Model S starts at $69,900 in the U.S., and runs all the way towards $110,000 with all the features included.

In an interview last year, CFO Deepak Ahuja noted that international markets were extremely important to Tesla, as the company continues to build out its brand.

"The Roadster has really helped us learn how to be an international company and create a presence in these countries," Ahuja said in the interview. "It serves as a terrific foundation for us as we launch the Model S internationally. The international markets are therefore important in our minds for Model S. We expect to get into Europe and Asia next year with the Model S."

Tesla, run by CEO Elon Musk, upped its forecast of Model S sales for 2013 when it reported earnings in May. The company now expects it will sell 21,000 units this year. The number is aided by the recent financing program Tesla announced earlier this year, allowing customers to make payments for the car, similar to a lease.

The increase in sales, quick move to profitability,, increased optimism, led by Musks' tweeting, and incredible short squeeze has allowed Tesla to become one of the best performing stocks in 2013, gaining 240.24% year-to-date.

TSLA Chart TSLA data by YCharts

Analysts have increasingly been positive on Tesla. Jefferies analyst Elain Kwei recently raised her price target to $130, as she believes there is the increased likelihood Tesla raises its 2013 sales estimates again. "We believe there is likely upside to prior 2Q guidance for deliveries of 4,500 units, as well as 2013 guidance of 21,000 units," Kwei wrote in her note.

Shares continued their outsized performance Friday, gaining 2.58% to $118.21.

-- Written by Chris Ciaccia in New York

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