China offers Elon Musk permanent residency after he says he ‘REALLY loves’ the country as Tesla’s $2billion ‘Gigafactory’ breaks ground in Shanghai
- The Tesla boss and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang met in Beijing on Wednesday
- Musk told Li he ‘really loves China’ and is willing to visit the country more often
- Li said he hoped Tesla can be promoter of the ‘stability of Chinese-U.S. relations’
- Tesla on Monday kicked off construction of its new $2 billion factory in Shanghai
Tesla boss Elon Musk has been offered Chinese permanent residency by Premier Li Keqiang after Musk said he really loves China during a meeting in Beijing, the government said Thursday.
The pair met on Wednesday at the Purple Light Pavilion at Zhongnanhai, the office complex of China’s top government officials. Li told Musk he hoped the American carmaker can become an ‘in-depth participant in China’s opening and a promoter of the stability of Chinese-U.S. relations’.
Musk was in Shanghai on Monday for the ground-breaking of Tesla’s first overseas factory – a $2 billion Gigafactory – which will allow it to sell vehicles directly in the world’s largest market for electric vehicles.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk was offered a Chinese ‘green card’ by Premier Li Keqiang on Wednesday. Musk was in Shanghai for the ground-breaking of Tesla’s first overseas factory
The pair met on Wednesday at the Purple Light Pavilion at Zhongnanhai, the office complex of China’s top officials. Musk told Li he ‘really loves China’ and is willing to visit more often
Li told Musk he hoped Tesla can become an ‘in-depth participant in China’s opening and a promoter of the stability of Chinese-U.S. relations’
‘I hope to build Tesla’s Shanghai factory into a global example,’ Musk told Li, according to the government’s website. ‘I really love China, I’m willing to visit here more often.’
Li replied: ‘If this is what you truly have in mind, we can issue you a “Chinese green card”.’
Getting a Chinese ‘green card’ has been described as ‘one of the most difficult tasks in the world’. In contrast, more than one million people in the United States became permanent residents in 2017 alone.
Tesla declined to comment on the offer.
Tesla broke ground on Monday in Shanghai on its first factory outside the United States. Musk says production of Tesla’s Model 3 will start late this year
Li told Musk he hoped Tesla can become a ‘promoter of the stability of Chinese-U.S. relations’, a sign that the two countries’ trade war may be thawing, before offering him a ‘green card’
Getting a Chinese ‘green card’ (sample above) has been described as ‘one of the most difficult tasks in the world’. In contrast, more than one million people in the US became PRs in 2017
The number of foreigners with Chinese permanent residency crossed 10,000 in 2016, according to state-run China Daily.
Members of this club, according to the paper, include Dutch scientist Bernard Feringa, who won the 2016 Nobel Prize in chemistry, former NBA all-star Stephon Marbury, and Nobel-winning economist Robert Mundell.
Tesla’s new plant in China will eventually have an annual production capacity of 500,000 vehicles, the California-based company has said, dramatically increasing its output.
At a ceremony at the site of the plant on the outskirts of Shanghai, Musk joined the city’s mayor and other local government officials to formally begin construction of a factory.
‘We think with the resources here we can build the Shanghai Gigafactory in record time and we’re looking forward to hopefully having some initial production of the Model 3 towards the end of this year and achieving volume production next year,’ Musk said at the event.
Elon Musk (second from right) performs a dance as he and several Chinese officials announced the beginning of construction at the factory site in Shanghai
The so-called Gigafactory is China’s first wholly foreign-owned car plant, a reflection of China’s broader shift to open up its car market, even amid a trade war with the United States which has seen a rise in tariffs on cars imported from the U.S.
‘Affordable cars must be made on same continent as customers,’ Musk wrote on Twitter ahead of the event.
Domestic and foreign automakers have been racing to grab shares of China’s electric-vehicle sector – already the world’s biggest and expected to continue to grow as the government pushes clean technologies.
Earlier on Wednesday, a Chinese government spokesman said three days of talks with U.S. envoys aimed at ending a costly tariff battle had ended, but no details were immediately released.