When Tesla announced last month that it was planning to close “many” of its retail outlets around the world in favor of online sales, some industry watchers in China were left scratching their heads.

After all, in the world’s largest market for new cars, brick-and-mortar car dealerships play several vital roles, including where many first-time car buyers come to learn about driving. Perhaps more than any other major market, dealerships in China are still a place for consumers to come kick the tires, touch upholstery, and get up to speed about the vehicle they are planning to buy.

On March 10, Tesla largely reversed its earlier decision to shutter stores, saying that it would keep many more than originally planned.

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Dingzhang Yu

Dingzhang is an intern reporter based in Shanghai. He is fascinated with China's tech landscapes and is also interested in data journalism. Contact him via yudingzhang.robin@gmail.com.

Colum Murphy

Managing Editor, Technode.