Real estate tycoon Huang Nubo, China’s 161st richest person, is said to have struck a deal with private landowners in Iceland for a 300 square kilometre tract of land in the Grímsstadir á Fjöllum region to develop a $100 million ecotourism golf resort project.
The tract of land represents the equivalent of ten times the size of Macau, or more than a quarter of Hong Kong’s land mass.
If successful in his bid, Huang would own 0.3% of the total land area of the homeland of Bjork, the irreverent Icelandic singer who rooted for Tibetan independence at her first and last concert in China three years ago.
Icelandic lawmakers, conscious of China’s ambitious land acquisition around the world, are concerned that the project could act as a cover for its geopolitical interests.
Said Iceland’s Minister of the Interior Ögmundur Jónasson, “It is important to raise awareness of the fact that acquisition like this isn’t legal. However, it is possible to apply for an exemption from the law and such an application hasn’t arrived on my desk yet but when it does, we will look at it carefully.”
“The legislative body saw reason to limit the relocation of Icelandic land to foreign parties. We have to ask ourselves whether that limitation has become obsolete. I think not,” the minister added. “But now we face the fact that a foreign tycoon wants to buy 300 square kilometers of Icelandic land. We have to discuss it and not swallow without chewing; would we find it all right if the entire country were sold this way?”
Face it, Iceland. You need the cash, and this guy has it.