"I love China and want to come here more often", Musk said, according to a transcript of the meeting, which took place Wednesday.
Li replied: 'If this is what you truly have in mind, we can issue you a "Chinese green card"'.
Tesla did not respond to a request for comment.
Tesla's move to break ground on the factory comes amid the backdrop of an ongoing trade war between Washington and Beijing.
Didn't know about allegations Manafort shared polling
A jury convicted Manafort on eight counts of tax and bank-fraud in August during his trial in Alexandria, Virginia. Manafort's lawyers said any incorrect statements by him were unintentional.
Getting a Chinese "green card" (sample above) has been described as "one of the most hard tasks in the world". In 2016, around 10,000 were awarded to foreign nationals.
If Musk were to obtain one, he would join the ranks of esteemed figures such 2016 Nobel-Prize winning chemist Bernard Feringa, and former National Basketball Association all-star (and CBA legend) Stephon Marbury.
China hopes Tesla will become a participant in China's deepening opening up and a driver for the stable development of Sino-U.S. ties, Li said.
The premier also congratulated Musk on moving forward with the new multibillion dollar factory, which will be the first plant in China to be entirely owned by a foreign company.
Once completed, it will be the first vehicle plant in China to be wholly owned by a foreign company since Beijing relaxed its restrictions on compulsory joint venture partnerships in some sectors past year.
'Affordable cars must be made on same continent as customers, ' Musk wrote on Twitter ahead of the event.