With the second announced long-term lease of a private island in China to a local investor, islands are quickly gaining popularity as a luxury real estate investment.
On the heels of China’s successful first private island auction, where a 50-year lease of the uninhabited Dayangyu Island sold for an impressive US $3.2 million, this exclusive sector of real estate has achieved an unheard-of buzz in the Chinese media. In April of 2011, China opened up 176 untouched coastal islets for development, and now, plans for the first two developments have been announced; Dayangyu will feature an opulent yachting marina and resort that will cost a reported more than US $75 million to create, but the second island, Danmenshan, will offer something altogether more unique.
Found off the coast of the city of Ningbo in sunny Zheijiang Province, not far from Dayangyu Island, Danmenshan Island was actually the first of the 176 islands to be issued a use certificate by the Chinese government. The winning offer was from a local company, Ningbo Longgang Industrial Co., who bought a 50-year lease for 3.44 million yuan, or approximately US $530,000. The certificate was issued for a tourism enterprise – and, as envisioned by well-known millionaire Huang Yimin, will offer a private island experience like no other: the opportunity to hunt wild boar, deer, and other wildlife.
Given that China’s islands are being leased only on the condition of following strict environmental guidelines, it may seem strange that Danmenshan will be turned into a high-end hunting reserve. However, Yimin has spent a reported US $5 million importing these animals onto the island himself, and will be complying with ecological rules such as no fire pits or construction around the island’s coast. In the past few years, hunting has gained popularity in China, with more than 200 hunting clubs opening up recently. According to media reports, it will cost just US $19 to get onto the island, with additional fees for rifle rental and shells.
The Chinese government is apparently pleased about signing the first of the hoped-for 176 island leases. “The certificate for the use of Danmenshan Island is a new beginning for China to protect its islands in accordance with law and also an example for exploration and the use of other uninhabited islands,” said Lv Caixia, a director of the islands management office with the State Oceanic Administration in the China Daily newspaper. The stated aims of the island development program are to promote tourism development, and ensure the control and maintenance of uninhabited islands within China’s territorial waters.
With 174 islands still left to lease, the possibilities for interesting private island projects in China seems endless. According to Ms. Caixia, other island developments will likely be announced soon, as she said that most of the rest of the islands on the government’s list are now awaiting final stamps of approval to move forward. Will China soon usher in a new era of luxurious island hotels and eco-friendly resorts to rival Thailand or Fiji, drawing thousands of new visitors? Now that the government has given the go-ahead, the possibilities for China’s underutilized islands are limited only by the imaginations of its investors – and with the exciting recent news, the future looks promising indeed.
Read more about this story in the China Daily: China Daily