Chinese Tycoon Must Reapply for Iceland Property Deal

on Dec 4, 2012

**Additional Information Required for Huang’s Investment Application**

Citing Icelandic media, Reuters reported on 3 December 2012 that a Chinese tycoon who wants to build a major tourist resort in a remote corner of northeast Iceland must reapply for permission to go ahead with the project.
Huang Nubo, chairman of Beijing Zhongkun Investment Group Co., who plans a $200 million (£124 million) property investment in Iceland, was once again stopped by the country’s government. Cabinet ministers, led by Industry Minister Steingrimur Sigfusson, said they were unable to make a final decision on Huang’s application as much information remained unavailable. The Chinese billionaire said that it has not yet been clarified what additioanl information he must provide and that he has not been given a deadline. Yet, Huang also made clear that he will proceed with the government requirements as he plans to pursue with the holiday resort development.

**Second Barrier on Huang’s Investment Way**
The recently-raised government requirement is not the first obstacle Huang faces on the way to his Icelandic venture. In November 2012, Iceland’s government rejected Huang’s bid to buy 300 square kilometres of land, saying it would be “incompatible” with the law amid opposition to foreign ownership of property. As a result, Huang agreed with the local municipalities to lease 70 per cent of the land.

!m[Billionaire Huang Nubo Will Not Give Up on Investment Plan Despite Icelandic Government Snub ](/uploads/story/962/thumbs/pic1_inline.png)Yet his resort development plans remain highly controversial. Although Huang insisted that he simply wanted to develop his tourism business, criticism of the plan has taken on a geo-political flavour, fearing the resort could be used by China to gain a strategic foothold in Iceland. Some commentators said that they raise questions about regional security because of Iceland’s strategic location in the Arctic where several nations are competing for resources. Others, however, argued that as Iceland is currently bouncing back from its worst financial crisis to date, this foreign investment project should be supported as it would create hundreds of jobs and lead to significant economic growth in the country.

**Yet He Won’t Give Up**
Although his plan has been thwarted twice so far, Huang is determined to realise his property investment in Iceland. On Monday, the Chinese tycoon told Bloomberg in a phone interview from Beijing: “I’m very angry and annoyed at how bad the investment environment in Iceland is. I will not withdraw the application from my side first. I’d rather wait for them to say they don’t welcome my investment.”

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**Nordic Holiday Resort Platform – A “Romantic” Venture**
In August 2011, Huang sought to invest $200 million in a resort and a mountain park in Iceland, which was intended to include a hotel, golf course and areas for outdoor activities. The plan has been tagged as a launch-pad to “Nordic holiday resort platform,” and according to Huang, would be followed by similar property investments in neighbouring countries including Denmark and Sweden.
Following his problems with the Icelandic government, however, Huang said: “It is the Iceland government that invited me to invest; maybe I shouldn’t have been that romantic, but cautious.”

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