A Chinese businessman has been given initial approval to rent a plot of land in Iceland and develop it into a vast tourism and nature retreat. Huang Nubo of the Zhongkun Group previously applied to buy the same 120 square-mile tract, but was rejected due to rules about foreigners owning large amounts of land.
According to company spokeswoman Yao Chen, the contract is likely to be signed next month. “We can’t comment on details as it is not officially set, but we think that it will be very likely for us to settle it this way,” Yao added in a report by Business Week.
Specifying that her boss is looking for a 99-year lease, Yao said, “We would like to develop it for tourism, having hotels, parks and racetracks there.”
Many politicians see the project as an opportunity for Iceland to get back on its feet following the devastating banking crash in 2008. According to reports, however, at one stage Huang threatened to move his investment to the US, Sweden or Finland after claiming that “anti-Chinese” attitudes had led to him being denied the right to buy.
Zhongkun has been given initial approval to rent a ranch and a nearby barren mountain on the country’s north shore. “Actually we would like to just get the ranch, but the government said it is impossible to get it without the mountain,” Yao said.