Tesla tries to calm China camera spying fears

Tesla took to Chinese social media on Wednesday (April 7) in a bid to calm security concerns.

The automaker said on Weibo that cameras in its vehicles are not activated outside of North America, adding "even in the United States, car owners can freely choose whether to turn on its use.''

Tesla faces scrutiny in China, where Reuters sources say its cars are banned from entering military complexes over concerns cameras on the vehicles could be used for spying.

But the electric car pioneer says its systems offer world-leading security and privacy protection.

At a virtual forum in Beijing in March, which was held not long after reports of the ban, Tesla founder Elon Musk emphasised the company's business motivations for protecting user privacy.

He said "there's a very strong incentive for us to be very confidential with any information. If Tesla used cars to spy in China or anywhere, we will get shut down."

China is a key market for electric vehicles. Tesla sold 30% of its global total there last year.