China’s industry ministry has added Tesla to a government list of approved automotive manufacturers, a designation that allows the electric automaker to begin producing vehicles in the country.
Tesla’s inclusion on the list published by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology was reported by Reuters. A Chinese tech site also reported the news and provided a screenshot of MIIT’s approved automakers. Tesla is the first automaker listed.
TechCrunch has reached out to Tesla and will update when the company responds.
Tesla is building a $2 billion factory in Shanghai, its first manufacturing facility outside the United States.
In July, Tesla wrote in its quarterly earnings letter to shareholders that Model 3 production was on track to begin at its Shanghai factory by the end of the year. Starting production by November would be a critical milestone for the automaker if it hopes to continue to increase sales and avoid the high cost of shipping and tariffs.
Tesla wrote at the time that machinery was moved into the factory during the second quarter in preparation for the first phase of production.
The company also said in July that “depending on the timing of the Gigafactory Shanghai ramp, we continue to target production of over 500,000 vehicles globally in the 12-month period ending June 30, 2020.”
Tesla has said the production line at the factory in China will have a capacity of 150,000 units annually and will be a simplified, more cost-effective version of the Model 3 line at its Fremont, Calif. factory. Tesla also said this second-generation Model 3 line will be at least 50% cheaper per unit of capacity than its Model 3-related lines in Fremont and at its Gigafactory in Sparks, Nev.