JAKARTA (Reuters) – Indonesian President Joko Widodo met with Tesla Inc chief executive Elon Musk in Texas on Saturday to discuss potential investments and technology, the Indonesian government said in a statement.
The meeting between Musk and Widodo, better known as Jokowi, came after a series of working discussions over potential investment in Indonesia’s nickel industry and the supply of batteries for electric vehicles, Indonesian officials told Reuters.
Tesla representatives were in Indonesia last week for meetings regarding a potential battery-related investment, Indonesian officials and two people familiar with the talks said.
Tesla had no immediate comment.
Indonesia has been trying for years to strike a deal with Tesla over battery investment and potentially Musk’s aerospace company SpaceX.
Jokowi traveled from Washington, where he attended an Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) leaders’ meeting, to meet Musk at the SpaceX launch site in Boca Chica, Texas. He invited the billionaire to visit Indonesia in November.
Jokowi is due to host a Group of 20 major economies summit in Bali in November. “Hopefully in November,” the Indonesian government quoted Musk as saying.
Musk said there could be room for “partnerships in many areas because Indonesia has a lot of potential,” the statement said.
Indonesia has the largest nickel reserves in the world, and Jokowi wants to develop a nickel-based electric vehicle industry at home – from nickel metal manufacturing to battery component production and electric vehicle assembly. . In the past, he has also urged Musk to consider a rocket launch site in Indonesia.
Two deals in the past month have given new impetus to Jokowi’s drive to develop an EV-related industry at a time when global automakers have been scrambling to secure supplies of battery materials and reduce dependency with regard to China.
A consortium led by South Korea’s LG Energy Solution Ltd, the world’s second-largest electric vehicle battery maker, last month announced plans to invest $9 billion in Indonesia in a deal that would include everything from from nickel refining to battery cell production in Indonesia.
LG’s biggest rival, China-based Contemporary Amperex Technology, a Tesla supplier, announced a $9 billion investment in Indonesia in April.
(Reporting by Stanley Widianto in Jakarta; Additional reporting by Ed Davies, Norihiko Shirouzu, Gavin Maguire and Fransiska Nangoy; Writing by Kevin Krolicki; Editing by William Mallard)
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