Chinese Authorities May Not Back Iceland Acquisition Skip to content

Chinese Authorities May Not Back Iceland Acquisition

Chinese investor Huang Nubo, who is planning to buy Grímsstadir á Fjöllum, a piece of land in northeast Iceland, and build a luxury hotel there, said it is uncertain whether Chinese authorities will back his plans in light of the fuss the acquisition has created.

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Dettifoss, the most powerful waterfall in Europe, is among the attractions that lie close to Grímsstadir. Photo by Páll Stefánsson.

According to ruv.is, Huang, who is a former official of the Chinese government, told Reuters that he has requested approval from Chinese authorities. However, they may encourage him to back out of the deal to not risk tension between Iceland and China.

If that is their evaluation, he will cancel his acquisition plans, Huang said. It could take up to six months for Chinese authorities to reach a decision on this matter, which is now also being processed by Icelandic authorities.

In an interview with the Chinese news agency Xinhua on Wednesday, Huang dismissed all claims that the acquisition of Grímsstadir á Fjöllum has political motives, as indicated in an article in the Financial Times, among other publications, ruv.is reports.

This investment is pure business, Huang stressed, explaining that even though he doesn’t expect it to deliver profits in the near future, the area’s magnificent landscape and untouched nature will no doubt attract tourists in the long run.

Huang also dismissed claims that he was ever in a powerful position within the Chinese Communist Party; his work there was insubstantial, he said, and he quit his public duties for the party years ago. His company, Zhongkun Group, is not sponsored by the government, Huang added.

The acquisition has garnered considerable attention and suspicion; former Foreign Minister of Denmark and friend of Iceland Uffe Ellemann Jensen wrote on his blog that it reminded him of a plot of a James Bond movie: a mysterious Chinese tycoon appears all of a sudden and buys a huge piece of land in the middle of nowhere.

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ESA

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