Chinese businessman Huang Nubo, who is looking to buy a 300-square-km section of land in Iceland in order to develop an eco-resort, has applied to Beijing's commerce authorities to open a tourism development firm in Iceland.
Xu Kang, a spokesman for the Beijing Municipal Commission of Commerce, said Friday Huang applied to open a tourism firm in Iceland with registered capital of one million U.S. dollars. The commission is expected to endorse the overseas investment project within seven workdays.
The spokesman noted that Huang's current application is unrelated to the land purchase for developing the resort, which Huang's company previously announced would require an investment of 200 million U.S. dollars.
He said that in accordance with the Offshore Investment Management Approach issued by the Ministry of Commerce (MOC), any overseas investment projects with capital over 100 million U.S. dollars need sanctioned by the MOC and the State Administration of Foreign Exchange.
"If Huang applied to invest in the resort development project in Iceland, the Beijing commission would submit it to higher authorities for approval," said the spokesman.
The tycoon, listed by Forbes as China's 161st richest individual, entered the media spotlight in August after he proposed that the land purchase would be meant for tourism development in Iceland.
Some media reports hinted that there was a connection between Huang's land purchase plan and the Chinese government, alleging that the proposed investment by the private Chinese firm could provide a cover for China's geopolitical interests around the Arctic.
Despite the controversy, Huang Nubo said Wednesday that he is still optimistic about the project.
Huang is the chairman of Beijing-based Zhongkun Investment Group. The company shifted its focus from developing residential properties to tourism-related commercial properties several years ago.
Huang announced plans in August to build a high-end resort in Iceland, which would include a hotel and other outdoor facilities such as a golf course and racetrack.