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PHOTO CAPTION: Screen capture of Tesla Motor's Chinese language website home page.

Tesla's China Challenge

If Tesla thinks dealing with intrenched US car dealerships is tough, it's now taking on the bureaucracy of the People's Republic of China.

Published: 26-Dec-2013

If you plan to buy a Tesla Model S in China, it will only be under its English language name, which is viewed as being somewhat unprecedented. The company had hoped to use the Chinese character equivalent of 'Te Si La', but back in 2006 a canny Chinese businessman by the name of Zhan Baosheng registered it in his name and refuses to relinquish it. Presumably he hopes to make a small fortune from Tesla if or when they decide to meet his terms.

For the time being, Tesla isn't interested in playing that game and has opened its Beijing showroom using its own name and logo. Its China web site, however, goes by Tuosule.com.

The other issue facing the company is more bureaucratic. China imposes stiff import duties on cars brought into the country, often equivalent to the price of the car, itself, effectively doubling its price. At the moment, the government has decide what the rate is for a car like the Model S, so while you can visit the store or place an advanced order for the car on their Chinese language web site, you won't know how much it'll cost you until the rate is set.

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