Chinese hotpot with ex-girlfriend Grimes rounds out big few days for Tesla chief Elon Musk

  • Billionaire’s dinner with ex-girlfriend causes big stir on social media
  • Entrepreneur mixes business and pleasure on groundbreaking China trip
PUBLISHED : Friday, 11 January, 2019, 10:33pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 12 January, 2019, 1:57am

Tesla Motors chief executive Elon Musk dined at a hotpot restaurant in Beijing, a day after he received an offer of permanent Chinese residency from Premier Li Keqiang.

Musk was seen eating at Qimen Shuanrou in the capital’s Guijie area with singer Grimes, a former girlfriend, in videos that appeared on social media on Thursday.

Musk met Li on Wednesday, the premier’s first foreign affairs event of the year. The men were at Zhongnanhai – the former imperial garden in Beijing that is home to the headquarters of the Communist Party and the government – two days after Tesla broke ground at its Gigafactory 3 project in Shanghai, its first production base outside the United States.

Li said he hoped Tesla could help drive China’s continued opening up, and even offered to issue a Chinese green card to the American entrepreneur, the government’s website said.

Can China’s electric-car start-up Byton beat Elon Musk’s Tesla?

Li congratulated Musk on construction of the multibillion-dollar facility, which began three months after the maker of America’s bestselling electric cars secured the land at an industrial zone in Lingang.

Once completed, it will be the first car plant in China to be wholly owned by a foreign company since Beijing relaxed its restrictions on compulsory joint venture partnerships in some sectors last year.

“We welcome more foreign enterprises to take part in China’s new-round and high-level opening up,” foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang was quoted by state-run Global Times as saying.

Musk said on Monday that production of the Tesla Model 3 was expected to start before the end of the year.

In July, Musk met Vice-President Wang Qishan at Zhongnanhai and said on Twitter at the time that they discussed “history, philosophy and luck”.

China agrees to lower import tariff on US cars for three months

Musk’s meeting with Li coincided with the end of the latest round of trade talks between Chinese and US officials in Beijing.