Mahjong, cartoons coming to Tesla car screens in China next year

BEIJING/SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Tesla Inc <TSLA.O> said on Friday it will offer its Chinese customers more video and gaming content next year, marking the first time the automaker will offer internet-connected games in its vehicles.

Two video-streaming channels from cartoon-focused Bilibili <BILI.O> and Alibaba-backed <BABA.N> Youku will be added for a total of four. Owners will also be able to entertain themselves with three online games – mahjong and two versions of poker from Chinese tech-giant Tencent <0700.HK>.

The games and videos will only start after the cars are properly parked, Tesla said, adding that new offerings will come sometime in first quarter. Owners often use the entertainment offerings while re-charging their cars or indulge after arriving back home from work.

The Silicon Valley automaker, widely seen as a leader in in-car infotainment, offers a range of games in its vehicles for the U.S. market but they are not internet-connected.

Keeping Chinese customers happy is a priority for Tesla which has built a $2 billion factory in the world’s biggest auto market and set itself a target of building 1,000 cars a week by the end of 2019.

Unlike the United States, it has also held racing events and showroom parties in China.

Tesla has started transporting China-built cars out of its Shanghai factory, according to its Weibo posts. It sold around 38,700 vehicles in China in the year to end-November, according to consultancy LMC Automotive.

(Reporting by Yilei Sun and Brenda Goh; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)