According to the office of President Yoon Suk Yeol, Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla, stated that South Korea is one of his top investment targets.
Yoon's office said that Musk also indicated a readiness to actively invest in South Korean EV charging infrastructure and substantially increase supply chain collaboration with Korean businesses.
The billionaire's comments come from a virtual meeting Musk conducted with Yoon. Yoon also received Musk's proposal to build a second Gigafactory in Asia to produce electric vehicles.
Musk stated that he would only decide to invest after carefully examining all of the investment circumstances, particularly those pertaining to labor and technology.
Tesla's major Asian factory is in Shanghai, China, where production capacity has recently been doubled to almost 1 million vehicles per year.
According to Yoon's office, Musk expects parts procurement from Korean companies to reach at least $10 billion by 2023.
Korea is home to two of the world's largest automakers, Hyundai Motor Co. and Kia Corp., as well as major battery manufacturers like as SK On Co. and Samsung SDI Co.
Tesla already purchases a large number of automobile components made in South Korea, including batteries from LG Energy Solution Ltd. In fact, LG Energy's outlook is favorable in part due to increased output at Tesla's Shanghai plant, according to Jeon Hyeyoung, an analyst at Daol Investment & Securities Co. in Seoul, who stated so last month.
The Asian country views semiconductors, rechargeable batteries, and electric cars as vital economic growth drivers and views its high-tech supply networks with the US as crucial.
In June, LG Energy announced that it would invest $452 million in the construction of a new line for 4680 batteries. Tesla has hailed these next-generation cells as the key to making electric vehicles more affordable and widely available.
Korea-U.S. relations were strained in August when the Biden administration approved the Inflation Reduction Act, which prohibits tax advantages for electric vehicles made in other countries.
Outside of China, where Tesla has a significant presence, South Korea is not the first country in the area to court Musk.
In August, Indonesian President Joko Widodo stated that he wants Tesla to manufacture electric automobiles in the country, not just batteries, and that he is willing to take the time necessary to persuade Musk that the country is more than just a rich storehouse of materials.