14:15 GMT +314 December 2019
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    In this Dec. 14, 2016, file photo, Tesla CEO Elon Musk listens as President-elect Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with technology industry leaders at Trump Tower in New York.

    Elon Musk Offered Green Card After Saying He Wants to Visit China 'More Often'

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    Musk's Tesla, Inc. has begun construction of a $7.3 billion Gigafactory 3 facility in Shanghai, China. When completed later this year, the factory, the first Tesla plant outside the US, is expected to produce some 250,000 Tesla-brand electric cars per year, with that figure eventually rising to 500,000.

    Chinese Premier Li Keqiang has offered billionaire tech mogul Elon Musk a residence permit, the website of China's State Council, the country's chief administrative authority, confirmed on its website.

    "I love China and want to come here more often," Musk said, according to a transcript of the meeting, which took place Wednesday. 

    "If this is what you truly have in mind, we can give you a 'Chinese green card'," Li replied, according to a government readout seen by the South China Morning Post.

    Musk's response, if any, was not publicised.

    Congratulating Musk on the start of construction of the Shanghai Tesla plant, Li expressed his hope that the company would be able to "get a firm foothold and expand the market," and suggested that Tesla could help "China's opening up" and promote "stable China-US relations."

    Li urged Tesla to "seize the opportunity to make the Shanghai factory the most advanced factory in the world." Musk responded by saying that he would like to make the plant "a global example."

    Once completed later this year, Tesla's Gigafactory 3, situated in the Chinese port city of Shanghai, will be able to sell its cars directly into China. The plant will be the first wholly foreign-owned car factory in the country. Sales of electric cars in China skyrocketed in recent years, with the country's government encouraging the sale of 2 million new-energy vehicles by 2020 in a bid to improve air quality and reduce dependence on foreign oil. China is already the largest market for electric cars in the world.

    Tesla built its first Gigafactory in Nevada in 2016, with a second plant beginning operations in New York state in 2017. The company plans to open a fourth Gigafactory in Europe, with its location yet to be confirmed.

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