Elon Musk says he picked Tesla robotaxi's August 8 launch date because it's a lucky number in China

Elon Musk.
Elon Musk.Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu via Getty Images
  • Tesla is set to launch its robotaxi on August 8, 2024.

  • The date, Elon Musk says, was chosen partly because it is a "lucky number in China."

  • Musk's interest in China isn't surprising considering its major influence on Tesla's fortunes.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk might've been hoping for some much-needed good fortune when he picked the robotaxi's projected August 8 launch date.

"I did partly pick it because 8/8 is a lucky number in China!" Musk told X user Michel de Guilhermier on Monday. This was after the latter pointed out the date's significance in Chinese culture.


The date, Musk added, was also chosen because it is the birthday of his triplets. Musk fathered the triplets — Kai, Saxon, and Damian — with his first wife, Justine Musk.

The number eight is seen as an auspicious digit in Chinese culture. This is because it has a similar pronunciation to the Chinese word for wealth and prosperity. When China hosted the Olympics in 2008, they opened the games officially at 8 p.m., on August 8.

Musk's interest in Chinese culture isn't that surprising if one considers the huge impact China has on Tesla's fortunes.

The Asian giant has become an increasingly important part of Tesla's operations. In April 2023, Musk unveiled plans for a new battery factory in Shanghai, per a report from China's state-run Xinhua News Agency.

With Tesla's growing troubles over sluggish sales and declining revenue, the Chinese market is now of vital importance to the company's survival and growth.

Musk also received a critical lifeline from China over the weekend, when officials gave their in-principle approval for Tesla to roll out its Full Self-Driving technology in the country, Bloomberg reported on Monday citing an individual familiar with the matter.

The billionaire swung the deal during an unexpected trip to China after canceling an earlier planned trip to India. While in China, Musk met several Chinese officials, including the country's second-highest-ranking politician, Li Qiang.

Musk's warmth toward China, however, does not extend to his rivals there.

Last week, Tesla reduced the price of is Model 3, S, X, and Y by 14,000 yuan, or about $1,930. Musk's company has been waging a price war amid heightened competition from Chinese automakers like BYD and Li Auto.

"The Chinese car companies are the most competitive car companies in the world," Musk said of his competitors during Tesla's earnings call in January.

"If there are no trade barriers established, they will pretty much demolish most other car companies in the world," he continued.

Representatives for Tesla didn't immediately respond to a request for comment from BI sent outside regular business hours.

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