To woo Chinese billionaire, Iceland rethinks foreign investment laws

The Nordic country needs money after its 2008 financial meltdown. But its laws stand in the way.

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

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