A Chinese tycoon’s Icelandic land grab

A Chinese investor’s plan to develop a large chunk of northwest Iceland is raising some eyebrows: Huang Nubo, a real estate investor and former Chinese government official, has struck a provisional deal to acquire 300 square kilometres of wilderness in north-east Iceland where he plans to build an eco-tourism resort and golf course. Opponents have ...

By , a former associate editor at Foreign Policy.
Thorvaldur Orn Krismundsson/AFP/Getty Images
Thorvaldur Orn Krismundsson/AFP/Getty Images
Thorvaldur Orn Krismundsson/AFP/Getty Images

A Chinese investor's plan to develop a large chunk of northwest Iceland is raising some eyebrows:

Huang Nubo, a real estate investor and former Chinese government official, has struck a provisional deal to acquire 300 square kilometres of wilderness in north-east Iceland where he plans to build an eco-tourism resort and golf course.

A Chinese investor’s plan to develop a large chunk of northwest Iceland is raising some eyebrows:

Huang Nubo, a real estate investor and former Chinese government official, has struck a provisional deal to acquire 300 square kilometres of wilderness in north-east Iceland where he plans to build an eco-tourism resort and golf course.

Opponents have questioned why such a large amount of land – equal to about 0.3 per cent of Iceland’s total area – is needed to build a hotel. They warned that the project could provide cover for China’s geopolitical interests in the Atlantic island nation and Nato member.

It’s actually even a bit more extreme than that. About half of Iceland’s land area is a massive volcanic desert and around 10 percent is covered by glacier, so Huang’s purchase could actually amount to about 0.75 percent of the country’s habitable land — then again, with only 320,000 people, space isn’t really much of an issue in Iceland.

According to the Financial Times, China has been making overtures in Iceland lately, including a $500 million currency-swap deal last year, as part of a broader strategy to secure Arctic shipping lanes.

HT: Boing Boing

Joshua Keating was an associate editor at Foreign Policy. Twitter: @joshuakeating

More from Foreign Policy

A Panzerhaubitze 2000 tank howitzer fires during a mission in Ukraine’s Donetsk region.
A Panzerhaubitze 2000 tank howitzer fires during a mission in Ukraine’s Donetsk region.

Lessons for the Next War

Twelve experts weigh in on how to prevent, deter, and—if necessary—fight the next conflict.

An illustration showing a torn Russian flag and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
An illustration showing a torn Russian flag and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

It’s High Time to Prepare for Russia’s Collapse

Not planning for the possibility of disintegration betrays a dangerous lack of imagination.

An unexploded tail section of a cluster bomb is seen in Ukraine.
An unexploded tail section of a cluster bomb is seen in Ukraine.

Turkey Is Sending Cold War-Era Cluster Bombs to Ukraine

The artillery-fired cluster munitions could be lethal to Russian troops—and Ukrainian civilians.

A joint session of Congress meets to count the Electoral College vote from the 2008 presidential election the House Chamber in the U.S. Capitol  January 8, 2009 in Washington.
A joint session of Congress meets to count the Electoral College vote from the 2008 presidential election the House Chamber in the U.S. Capitol January 8, 2009 in Washington.

Congrats, You’re a Member of Congress. Now Listen Up.

Some brief foreign-policy advice for the newest members of the U.S. legislature.