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Tesla begins Model 3 delivery in China ahead of schedule

CNBC logo CNBC 2/22/2019 Evelyn Cheng
a red and black train engine: A Tesla Model 3 is seen in the general assembly line at the Tesla factory in Fremont, California, on Thursday, July 26, 2018.© Provided by CNBC LLC A Tesla Model 3 is seen in the general assembly line at the Tesla factory in Fremont, California, on Thursday, July 26, 2018.

Tesla announced Friday during an event in Beijing that it's beginning delivery of the Model 3 in China, at least a week earlier than expected.

Elon Musk's electric car company said in January it planned to start deliveries of the vehicle in China in March.

State-funded Chinese news site The Paper also reported Friday that a ship carrying more than 1,600 Model 3 vehicles had arrived in Shanghai.

In January, Tesla broke ground on its factory in Shanghai and production is expected to begin in the second half of this year.

The company has said manufacturing in the world's largest market for electric cars would help reduce transport and tariff costs. The automaker said in October it operates at a 55 percent to 60 percent cost disadvantage compared with its Chinese peers.

Tesla's revenues from China fell 13 percent last year to $1.8 billion, the company disclosed in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Feb. 19.

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