The free-speech debate has once more been ignited by news of Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter. Photo: AFP

When SpaceX founder and Tesla CEO Elon Musk says he’s going to do something, he usually keeps his word.

Take for instance his recent, somewhat surprising pledge to rid himself of earthly possessions – it appears to be happening.

Sources say Musk has sold his sprawling Los Angeles mansion for US$29 million to Chinese billionaire William Ding Lei.

The 48-year-old American billionaire had listed the Bel Air property for $30 million early last month after pledging that he “will own no house,” the New York Post reported.

Walled, gated and assuredly protected by a state-of-the-art security system, the palatial residence measures in at more than 16,000 square feet (nearly 1,500 square meters), with seven bedrooms and 11 baths, Variety reported.

Though the crop of photos included with the Zillow listing leaves many aspects of the estate a mystery, it’s clear there are lush, expertly maintained gardens, a swimming pool with inset spa, several alfresco dining patios, and garaging for at least four Teslas.

The multi-story house, a towering but architecturally insipid structure, has A+ views that sweep over the Bel Air Country Club, summiting at the Pacific Ocean and Catalina Island on the horizon.

Elon Musk has sold his sprawling Los Angeles mansion for US$29 million to a Chinese billionaire. Photo: Handout

Records also reveal the property’s buyer is “William” Ding Lei, a Chinese national and tech entrepreneur who remains largely unknown in the US but was once ranked as the richest man in mainland China, Variety reported.

Today, he’s worth more than $25 billion, according to Forbes. Ding founded the NetEase leviathan group of companies that together comprise one of the largest online gaming empires in the world, second in China only to Tencent.

Meanwhile, Musk has vowed to get rid of his homes and belongings in order to devote his life “to Mars and Earth,” the New York Post reported.

“Don’t need the cash,” the eccentric billionaire tweeted in May. “Possessions just weigh you down.”

The newly sold Bel Air home is across the street from another property Musk is trying to flip –  a 2,700-square-foot (250-square-meter) ranch-style spread that used to belong to actor Gene Wilder – which he listed for $9.5 million with the condition that it “cannot be torn down or lose any [of] its soul,” the New York Post reported.

Musk also has five other California properties on the market for nearly $100 million.

The palatial residence sold by Elon Musk in exclusive Bel Air, measures in at about 1,500 square meters, with seven bedrooms and 11 baths. Photo: Handout

The South African-born entrepreneur is seeking $62.5 million for four homes in Los Angeles’ swanky Bel Air neighborhood, according to a recent Zillow listing describing the plots as “a project for the big thinker” with “one of the best views in Los Angeles.”

Musk also put his century-old San Francisco-area mansion with “unobstructed bay views” on the market last month with an asking price of $35 million, the New York Post reported.

As for Ding, the former Musk estate is not his only California residence, Variety reported.

Back in 2011, he paid $17.7 million for a mansard-roofed mansion in the exclusive Silicon Valley town of Atherton, California, where some of his nearest neighbors include the homes of billionaires like Meg Whitman, Jan Koum and the $31 million compound of Steph and Ayesha Curry.