BEIJING (TheStreet) -- Elon Musk is getting more attention than a Korean pop star in China this week, even though his Tesla Motors (TSLA) last year sold only one-tenth of 1 percent as many cars worldwide as Chinese consumers bought.
The buzz in the media and among Chinese stock analysts is all about the fact that Musk's plans for building electric cars and solar-powered charging stations in China match the goals of Beijing, Shanghai and central government officials.
Officials want to cut auto emissions in a country where a record-breaking 22 million vehicles were sold last year. They also want to diversify the economy by promoting so-called "new energy" manufacturers of electric cars, batteries, wind turbines and the like.
Musk pushed all the right buttons by announcing that Tesla would open a research center in China and work with the cities of Beijing and Shanghai to build charging networks. His most welcome announcement was that the U.S. company might start manufacturing cars in China in three years.
The buzz began Sunday at the annual Beijing auto show, where Tesla's electric Model S took center stage. It continued Monday when Chen Weihong, the Charlie Rose of state-run CCTV television, interviewed Musk on a nationally broadcast talk show.
The American billionaire chatted with Chen about Tesla's IPO, the Paypal business, colonizing Mars, his family and selling cars in China. "China is very important for the future of Tesla's market. We'll make huge investments," Musk said. "Our sales, our services will be customized for the Chinese."