Publish: 16 Jun 2023, 02:56 pm
Billionaire Elon Musk is set to meet French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris on Friday for the second time in just over a month, as France aims to curry favour and attract investment from the Tesla boss, reports AFP.
Macron confirmed during a visit to France's biggest technology trade fair VivaTech earlier this week that he would meet the businessman to "tout the attractiveness of France and Europe".
After talking to Macron, Musk will appear before an audience of thousands at VivaTech for what is billed as an hour-long "conversation" with the event's French founder Maurice Levy.
Musk and Macron held talks in May and afterwards the maverick boss of Twitter and SpaceX said he was considering big investments in France.
The country's technology minister Jean-Noel Barrot fuelled speculation earlier this week by telling US broadcaster CNBC that "a lot of effort and energy" had been expended to secure a Tesla factory for France.
The electric carmaker's European footprint is relatively small, having opened its first manufacturing plant in Germany last year.
Macron gave details of his intentions during a walk around the aisles of VivaTech, which heavily promotes France as a destination for startups and investors.
"We're going to talk about artificial intelligence, where he is involved, social networks and regulatory frameworks," he said.
"I'm also going to talk to him about cars, batteries and the sector, to tout the attractiveness of France and Europe."
- Awkward interviewee -
Later in the day, Musk is likely to face questions at VivaTech about his many other business interests -- particularly his acquisition of social media network Twitter.
The on-off richest man in the world bought the platform for $43 billion, sacked much of its staff, allowed right-wing conspiracy theorists to return and introduced all sorts of fees and charges.
He admits the platform is no longer worth anywhere near the amount he paid.
Maurice Levy, who will interview him in an auditorium that holds more than 4,000 people, said Twitter would certainly be on the agenda.
But Musk is a notoriously tricky interviewee, prone to lengthy pauses, off-topic rambles and making coded references to sex and drugs.
Levy said he was going to try to be up to the challenge but told French broadcaster BFMTV he could not pretend to be a journalist.
"I'm not looking for a scoop, I'm looking for an explanation, I'm looking to understand," he said.
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