Tesla, Inc. (TSLA) tripled its sales in China in 2016, according to the company's latest filing. In its annual report, the electric car maker said its sales in China jumped to $1.06 billion from $318 million in 2015. China is now the company's second largest country market after the United States, where the company recorded sales of $4.2 billion last year. Tesla CEO Elon Musk has said that China will become its largest market in the future. (See also: Tesla Updates Software After Chinese Hackers Take Control of Model S.)

The increase in Tesla's China sales occurred after a downturn in its fortunes there. The Palo Alto, Calif.-based company faced multiple problems, from an en masse resignation of its sales team to the lack of appropriate charging stations for its cars after its launch in China in 2014. Despite high anticipation for Tesla's cars prior to its arrival on Chinese shores, the company's sales there plummeted, and it had to lower its sales target by 50% in 2016. Last year, the company also became the subject of a lawsuit after the aggrieved parents of a 23-year-old who died due to a highway collision blamed the Autopilot feature of the Model S for the crash. (See also: Tesla's Chinese Competitors Turn on the Heat.)

However, the company's fortunes seem to be taking a turn for the better in China, a country that is expected to become the world's largest market for electric vehicles by 2020. In fact, Tesla rode the crest of an increase in overall electric car sales in the country last year. With a reported market share of 1.45% for plug-ins, China outpaced the United States (which has a market share of 0.8 percent) and Europe (which has a market share 1.3%).

However, Tesla still has a lot of catching up to do, as its sales are still a fraction of those by local operators. For example, according to a report by website CleanTechnica, the Geely Emgrand 7, which is the first Chinese electric vehicle designed with European standards, sold 6,023 vehicles in December 2016. In contrast, Tesla sold only 108 vehicles during the same month. (See also: Analyzing Tesla's Entry Into India.)

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