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To woo Chinese billionaire, Iceland rethinks foreign investment laws

Posting in Government

A Chinese billionaire wants to develop property in Iceland, but the nation's tough foreign investment laws have thus far blocked his efforts.

A new government coalition has hinted that it may ease those laws, according to a new Bloomberg report.

The billionaire in question is Huang Nubo, chairman of Beijing Zhongkun Investment Group. Huang has properties in the U.S. and is probably best known for restoring a pair of 200-year-old villages in China’s eastern Anhui province, landing them on the UNESCO world heritage list.

Huang wants to spend $200 million to develop an Icelandic resort and mountain park, Omar Valdimarsson reports. The development would serve as Huang's first foothold in a series of planned Nordic investments.

Iceland, of course, has not fully recovered from the global economic downturn after 2008; the $14 billion economy continues to seek additional investment as its financial sector recuperates from defaulting on billions.

But the nation's laws have not kept up with its fortunes. Local government officials in Iceland had attempted to circumvent their own restrictions by purchasing the property and leasing it to Huang.

The new administration, elected in April, may take that a step further.

Photo courtesy Beijing Zhongkun Investment Group

— By on August 14, 2013, 12:13 AM PST

Andrew Nusca

Editor Emeritus

Andrew Nusca is editor of SmartPlanet and an associate editor for ZDNet. Previously, he worked at Money, Men's Vogue and Popular Mechanics magazines. He holds degrees from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and New York University. He is based in New York but resides in Philadelphia. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure