Tesla wants to open more stores and manufacture cars in China. That means it’s going to need more workers there.
To that end, the company plans to hire nearly 500 people in China this year, according to a report this week by Shanghai-based financial media outlet Yicai citing a Tesla employee. According to Yicai, the staffer made the comment during a university recruitment event, one of four campus events Tesla held in China this month, according to the company’s official account on messaging app WeChat (link in Chinese). The open positions include sales, engineering, and IT, according to the list seen by the Yicai reporter.
Tesla told Quartz it was kicking off campus recruiting in China, as in the previous year, and that the number of hires is yet to be determined. Earlier, the company told Shanghai-based news outlet The Paper that the Yicai number was a misstatement (link in Chinese), and that the number of open positions would depend how many stores Tesla opens next year in China. Tesla currently operates 30 stores in the country.
Jon McNeil, president of global sales and services at Tesla, said in a March interview with Chinese financial media outlet Caixin that it planned to double its number of stores (link in Chinese) in China this year.
The company has 89 full-time positions open (link in Chinese), focusing on sales and customer services, across 15 Chinese cities as of Aug. 29.
Sales of Tesla vehicles in China more than tripled in 2016, hitting $1.1 billion—that’s one-seventh of its overall revenue last year, despite Tesla’s sticker price in the country being 50% higher than in the US. This week, the Wall Street Journal reported (paywall) that the company has secured a deal to manufacture vehicles in Shanghai, without a local partner, which would be a first for a foreign automaker in China. Tesla also just opened its largest charging station in the world, with 50 Superchargers, in Shanghai.
Earlier this month, Tesla fired hundreds of workers at its plants in Fremont, California, where the company employs nearly 10,000 workers. A Tesla spokesperson said the firings were part of the company’s annual performance review process.
Correction (Oct. 25): An earlier headline called the firings at the Fremont plant “layoffs,” a characterization Tesla disputes under the terms of the 1988 WARN Act. The post was also updated with Tesla comment.