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Elon Musk met with Chinese Vice Premier Ding in Beijing -source

Tesla's CEO Elon Musk in Beijing

By Julie Zhu

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Tesla Inc CEO Elon Musk met with Chinese Vice Premier Ding Xuexiang on Wednesday afternoon in Beijing, a source familiar with the matter said.

The source declined to provide details of the discussions. The previously unreported meeting followed meetings with China's commerce and industry ministers earlier in the day and with the foreign minister on Tuesday.

Tesla and the State Council Information Office, which handles media queries on behalf of the Chinese government, did not immediately respond to Reuters requests for comment.

Ding is the sixth highest-ranked leader in the Politburo Standing Committee, the top governing body led by President Xi Jinping. He was Xi's chief of staff before he was promoted to his current position last year and his job includes helping the premier, Li Qiang, manage the world's second-largest economy.

This marks the first time that Ding is known to have had a one-on-one meeting with a foreign CEO and his discussion with Musk speaks of the importance China places on its relationship with Tesla. China is the automaker's second-largest market and home to its biggest production hub.

It was not immediately clear if Musk met Li Qiang during the trip. Tesla had previously sought a meeting for Musk with Li, Reuters reported in March.

Musk left Shanghai on Thursday morning, wrapping up a two-day trip to China in which he also met a key battery supplier and visited Tesla's Shanghai factory.

(Reporting by Julie Zhu; Additional reporting by Zhang Yan and Brenda Goh in Shanghai and Sophie Yu in Beijing; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)