Published September 20, 2012
Chinese entrepreneur has been given the “green light” to move ahead with plans to develop a resort in northeast Iceland, an opinion column in Xinhua reports, while also claiming China needs to overcome “undeserved suspicion” from other countries.
As reported, Huang Nubo’s recently revealed in an interview that the terms of his deal allowed him to lease some 30,639 hectares in northeast Iceland for 40 years with the option to rent for another 40 years at the lease’s end. Furthermore, his plans include not just the building of a luxury hotel, but also some 100 villas “mostly for wealthy Chinese”. Minister of the Interior Ögmundur Jónasson responded to the news by saying, “We’re not talking about some shop by Jökullsá river. If people can rent land for this length of time, it becomes more or less equivalent to land ownership.” He has called for the land deal to be reviewed, and wants to have it nullified.
Xinhua now reports that “Chinese tycoon Huang Nubo, whose plan to build a resort in an isolated part of Iceland was turned down amid suspicion a year ago has been given the green light to rent the land by Reykjavik, with the year-long drama coming to a happy ending.”
Furthermore, the column claims that “Huang said his company plans to build resorts in north European countries including Norway, Finland and Sweden over the next five years.”
When addressing concerns from Iceland and other countries about China’s intentions, the anonymous columnist writes, “to knock open the door to overseas markets, Chinese business pioneers need to forge ahead in spite of undeserved suspicion and holdback that reflects a kind of sentiment against China.”
This suspicion, from Iceland at least, might be due in part to Huang Nubo’s track record in China. As reported:
Many of China’s most famous tourist sites are managed by politically-connected business like Beijing Zhongdian Investment Corp, which earned by more than $600 million in 2006 running sites such as Hongchun in Anhui Province and Zhongdian near Tibet in Yunnan. The company is notorious for cheating villagers whose land is developed for tourism and giving them very little of the hefty admission fees they charge tourists. The sites themselves are often developing in a way that is ugly and not culturally sensitive. Beijing Zhondian is controlled by Huang Nubo, a former Communist Party Propaganda department section chief. He is said to worth over $500 million.
“These people need to better understand the business climate in China,” says Xinhua. “Where years of economic take-off have nurtured fertile soil for private businesses and the giant hand of a largely free market dictates most business decisions. … When misunderstandings are dispelled, two-way flow of capital will become easier and even common. It will be good news for an ailing global economy.”