Singapore's Tesla Consulting goes viral thanks to Bloomberg

07 October 2020 Consultancy.asia 4 min. read

Business news provider Bloomberg has been left red-faced, after it wrongly assumed that US automotive company Tesla was entering the Singapore market. A job posting in Singapore from the unrelated Tesla Consulting was behind the confusion.

Nikola Tesla was a Serbian-American inventor, electrical engineer, mechanical engineer, and futurist best known for his contributions to the design of the modern alternating current electricity supply system. Until recently, the legacy of Tesla stood in the shadow of Thomas Edison – who Tesla alleged in his autobiography got 25 patents from his work, without the compensation he was promised to have been paid – however as the years have passed, his contribution to science has increasingly come to prominence.

As a result of this, the name Tesla has become synonymous with research, development, innovation and technology – something that has led corporate entities of all shapes and sizes to re-brand themselves in the image of the famous inventor. Alongside the infamous producer of electric cars, Tesla, companies to have taken the name for themselves include an electrotechnical conglomerate in the former Czechoslovakia; Ericsson Nikola Tesla, a Croatian affiliate of the Swedish telecommunications giant Ericsson; Tesla Electric Light and Manufacturing; and a consulting firm based in Singapore.

Tesla Consulting job ad

The last of these examples has recently been at the heart of something of a media storm, through no fault of its own, after its most recent job posting was dramatically misinterpreted by an international business news outlet. Bloomberg mistakenly took a recruitment advert from Tesla Consulting to suggest the separate US car manufacturer headed by Elon Musk was entering the Singapore market.

A report from Bloomberg’s Kyunghee Park on September 22nd read, “Tesla is advertising for roles based in Singapore, signaling Elon Musk’s electric-vehicle maker is preparing to set up shop in the wealthy city-state it has so far skirted. The car manufacturer is advertising for positions such as store leader and sales adviser in the city, according to postings on its website dated August and July.”

The article continued, “Musk has previously criticized Singapore for not being supportive of electric vehicles, and Tesla hasn’t got any showrooms in the city where the premium-car market is dominated by brands such as BMW and Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz.”

The report went on to note that the California-based company has a strong presence in other major Asia-Pacific markets, including China, Hong Kong, Sydney, Tokyo and Taipei – all of which is true, but did not relate to the consulting firm which had actually posted the advert. It is not especially surprising that Tesla’s Beijing representative subsequently declined to comment for Bloomberg’s write-up of the events.

The following day, Bloomberg corrected the story to remove references to Tesla posting new job advertisements, clarifying that “the ads were for another company.”

In truth, it seems an easy enough mistake for Bloomberg to have made – not just because the companies literally share a name, but because several months earlier, Tesla had in fact posted job adverts on LinkedIn for Singapore. The postings earlier in July and August had fuelled speculation that the automotive firm was going to arrive in the market – but no further information had surfaced since, clearly leaving reporters with itchy trigger-fingers regarding any potential scoop on the story.

In this case, however, Bloomberg were just a little too fast to go to print. The Singapore-based company Tesla Consulting is in fact a business process and IT solutions consulting firm, according to its website. Speaking to Singapore based news outlet The Mothership, Tesla Consulting confirmed that it is not affiliated with Tesla, even though they “admire their work and innovation from afar,” and confirmed that the shared name was a coincidence, as one of the consultancy’s founders had an electrical engineering background and admired the work of the late innovator, Nikola Tesla.