Chinese Investor’s Bid in Iceland to Be Greenlighted?

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Chinese Investor’s Bid in Iceland to Be Greenlighted?

A controversial US 200 million dollar (ISK 26 billion, EUR 153 million) scheme put forward by a wealthy Chinese investor—that was rejected last November by the Icelandic Minister of the Interior—might soon receive approval from the Icelandic government following a revision of the terms, according to Forbes magazine.

huangnubo-presentation_ruv

Huang Nubo. Source: ruv.is.

Billionaire Huang Nubo, owner of the Zhongkun Investment Group of Beijing, wanted to buy over 300 square kilometers of land near Grímsstaðir á Fjöllum in the northeastern highlands of Iceland. 

His stated intention was to build a luxury resort, with a hotel, villas, a golf course, an airport for small aircraft and outdoor recreational facilities, all of which would draw large numbers of Chinese tourists. In China, Huang’s company also invests in luxury hotels.

The proposal was controversial because Minister of the Interior Ögmundur Jónasson who rejected the plan, said that it flew in the face of Icelandic law that forbade the purchase of large tracts of land by non-EEA nationals, while others believe that it would bring needed tourism to an underused part of the country. 

Another reason the plan is controversial is a general skepticism about the success of such a venture in that remote and forbidding area.

The new terms, as explained by Þórður H. Hilmarsson, the director of Invest in Iceland, would allow the Zhongkun Investment Group to use the land under a long-term lease agreement, rather than as an outright purchase. 

Backed this time by the Icelandic Ministry of Industry, the project may be approved in one or two months’ time.

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AS