A Chinese developer is apparently deeply unhappy at having his plans to buy 0.3% of Iceland rejected by the government, labelling the decision as “irresponsible.”
Huang Nubo, chairman of Zhongkun Investment Group, feels the rejection is unjust and reflects the problems and prejudice faced by Chinese companies in the West. He feels many foreigners automatically assume Chinese companies have ties to the military. According to the report in Reuters the bid was rejected by the Icelandic government because it didn’t meet all the legal requirements on foreign ownership, but others think the plan may have raised uncomfortable questions due to its strategic location close to the Arctic.
Huang’s plan was to purchase 300 km² of land in north-east Iceland for a $200 million investment into a resort project. Apparently the current landowners initiated the project. Huang’s point of view is that he is investing into tourism infrastructure and not merely buying land. He points out that Chinese money is welcome in many cities around the world as countries are happy for Chinese to emigrate and bring their wealth with them and to purchase luxury goods, but are unhappy when any move is made to purchase natural resources. Huang feels western countries are guilty of having double standards.
It would have cost Huang $8.3 million to buy the land, and he planned to build an outdoor recreation area, golf course and hotel. The deal was rejected as apparently it didn’t meet legal requirements for land sales to companies outside the EU, as company directors have to either be Icelandic citizens or have to have been permanent residents for at least five years. If it had gone ahead the deal would have been the first major Chinese investment into the country which is still desperately trying to recover from the collapse of its banks three years ago.