Bert van Dijk, the Shanghai correspondent for Het Financieele Dagblad and De Tijd, says most of the western media has read too much into Chinese tycoon Huang Nubo’s plans to buy 300 square kilometres of land in Iceland to build a new resort. He says, buying a part of Iceland sometimes is just that: buying a part of Iceland:
What I’ve been told by a Zhongkun representative is that Huang wanted to buy a farm in Iceland to transform it into a resort. This farm was officially for sale, but was only for sale including the 300 square kilometers of land. It could not be separately bought. This ‘forced’ Huang to buy the whole lot, even though about 99% of this well reported 300 square kilometers is not useable, because it is either solid stone rock or water. Beautiful stone rock and water, yes, but not something to easily turn into something like a strategic bridgehead for the Chinese, let alone the legislation issues that would require.
But even if you chose to don’t believe this explanation….
The area Huang is trying to buy is not even near to a coastline, so why are a lot of the reports speculating about turning his resort into a strategic Chinese shipping hub in the future?
Furthermore, Huang has a long personal history connecting him to Iceland, which to me at least makes his plan more of personal passion than Chinese strategic asset buying. This man climbed the seven highest mountains on this planet and reached both poles. I cannot verify, but according to himself, only 16 men ever achieved the same before him.
All in all, to me this is just the story of a Chinese millionaire/billionaire adventurer who has a proven passion for the outdoors and wildlife and is running a company since 1995 that’s involved in exclusive leisure and real estate activities. So the whole venture in Iceland perfectly fits the strategy of his company and himself.