The Seljavika area for sale. Photo: Loca Eiendom
The Chinese property billionaire blocked from buying a huge chunk of Iceland is reportedly close to buying up a 100 hectares of the scenic Lyngen coastline.
Huang Nubo, a Communist party member who spent ten years working in the country's propaganda ministry, on Thursday agreed to buy the site, which has already received planning permission for a series of villas, from Ola OK Giæver Jr, a local landowner, pilot and businessman.
"I can promise you a new era for Lyngen municipality. I trust that Huang Nubo will create huge and positive financial ripples throughout the north of Norway," Giæver jr said. "There is not a better capitalist than Huang."
Nubo, the chairman of Beijing Zhongkun Investment Group ranks 169 in Forbes Magazine's list of the richest people in China, with a fortune of $990m. In February he was instrumental in bringing back seven marble pillars taken from the Emperor's Palace in Beijing in the late 19th century, which had long been held by the Kobe art museum in Bergen.
The deal was seen as a crucial step in rehabilitating the troubled diplomatic relations between Norway and China.
However, he has been accused of being a front for the Chinese government's attempt to gain a foothold in the Arctic. In 2011, he caused a ruckus after he announced plans to spend $200m buying up a 300km2 chunk of Iceland. The bid was blocked by Iceland's rules on foreign land ownership.
Giæver said the present deal had been mediated by the Chinese ambassador to Norway, who he had invited around for dinner a year last October.
"I told him i had land for sale. He told me he 'knew a guy'. Fourteen days later Huang Nubo and I were out in the fjord on my boat," he said.
The Seljavika area, an hour south of Tromsø includes 100 hectares of forest, beach and hills on the slopes of the Lyngen alps. According to Giæver the project had been 15 years in the planning.
Nubo plans to build a five-star luxury resort stands for rich Chinese tourists.
"He wants to give the Chinese the opportunity to experience Arctic silence and clean air," Giæver jr said. "Eighty per cent of the labour will come from local entrepreneurs and that's something Lyngen really needs. We are talking about billion kroner investment from his side."
Outside his business life, Nubo is a passionate amateur mountain trekker, scaling Mount Kilimanjaro in 2005 and Mount Everest in 2008.