Musk says China doesn’t want Starlink

Musk says China doesn’t want Starlink
FILE PHOTO: SpaceX founder Elon Musk arrives ahead of the launch of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the Crew Dragon capsule, before launch of their NASA commercial crew mission at Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, U.S., April 23, 2021. REUTERS/Joe Skipper/File Photo

Elon Musk’s company Starlink works pretty much like this – it puts satellites in orbit that can shoot down WiFi signals, and then you have receivers on the ground that can pick up the signal. This makes it great for emergency situations since all you need is power on the ground and those receivers, and you’re good. That’s why Starlink has rolled out operations in Ukraine and is working on getting to Iran (though that’s a little more complicated).

But it doesn’t sound like Starlink is headed to China anytime soon. In an interview with the Financial Times, Musk said that Chinese officials reached out to him directly to ask that Starlink not be rolled out there. Though Musk didn’t say whether or not he agreed, there aren’t any public plans to take Starlink to the region.

China regulates internet access, and something like Starlink would let people get around the country’s regulatory bodies. But Musk also talks a lot about free speech, and it’s looking like he will end up with Twitter to show for it. Really, though, this shows that while Musk is making business deals, he could also be dabbling in politics.

Key comments:

“Musk says Beijing has made clear its disapproval of his recent rollout of Starlink, SpaceX’s satellite communications system, in Ukraine to help the military circumvent Russia’s cut-off of the internet,” wrote Roula Khalaf of the Financial Times. “He says Beijing sought assurances that he would not sell Starlink in China.”

“I’m subject to literally a million laws and regulations and I obey almost 99.99 per cent of them,” said Musk in his interview with the Financial Times, discussing the idea of regulation broadly. “It’s only when I think the law is contrary to the interest of the people that I have an issue.”