President Joko Widodo’s personal invitation for Tesla chief executive Elon Musk to invest in Indonesia is the latest bid by Southeast Asia’s largest economy to become part of the global supply chain for the burgeoning electric-vehicle (EV) industry, which a 2018 European Commission report estimated could be worth up to US$66.7 billion annually.
On the Friday call, Widodo and Musk discussed the industry and the main components for EV batteries, the investment ministry said in a statement. The president also asked Musk to consider Indonesia as a potential launch site for SpaceX, his aerospace manufacturing and space transport venture.
Widodo’s call was another attempt by Jakarta to communicate with Musk after a delegation led by the president’s top envoy, coordinating minister for maritime affairs and investment Luhut Pandjaitan, failed to meet him upon a visit to the United States last month.
Musk responded by saying he would send a team to Indonesia next month, according to the ministry. Tesla has not commented on the exchange and the ministry has not confirmed a date for the team’s visit, saying only that discussions between both sides are continuing after the call.
“No fixed date yet, but [on Wednesday] we will have a video call with Tesla’s global research and development and resources team,” Jodi Mahardi, Luhut’s spokesman, told This Week in Asia on Tuesday. “Tesla is the leading company in EV technology, so we want Tesla to see the potential in investing in Indonesia.”
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