Thursday, April 25, 2024

Island Market

China government offers uninhabited islands for lease

With the number of wealthy people growing at a fast pace and a change in lifestyle trends, free-time pursuits and individuals’ spending power, Chinese authorities are expecting an increasing interest in island investments.

China – great potential for the private island market

Up until now, the private island market has not been developed in China, due to restrictions in the law. However, the potential for this market is vast. In addition to the hundreds of small uninhabited islands, there are around 7000 which are over 500 square meters large, many of which are located in the South China Sea, and can boast white beaches, coconut trees and clear blue seas – a veritable private island market waiting to happen.
Officials would like to see these small islands, undergo touristic development along the lines of what has occurred in Maldives.

Chinese Island

Chinese Island

What is the new law proposing?

On March 12, 2011 China’s State Oceanic Administration announced that 176 islands will be offered to Chinese and foreigners to rent or lease for prolonged periods and use as they wish, however this offer is not without restrictions.

The new law allows island “buyers” to use the island for 50 years, after which it can be sold to Chinese, foreigners, companies or individuals. Commercial use and construction will only be permitted if there are no serious alterations to the island’s features. This means that any projects on uninhabited islands will be subject to environmental impact assessments, and approvals from ecologists and environmentalists must first be obtained.

Work began on drafting the law in 2009 as a result of a series of unapproved island developments along the Chinese coastline over the last few years. In 2010 there were 30 cases of illegal developments on islands, in one instance, 15 unauthorized villas were demolished on Ersha Island in South China’s Guangdong province.

An official from Guangdong Maritime Bureau  was quoted as saying. “Many people dream of owning an island”. After the news of the new law broke, it was also reported that many people called to ask for more details.

The fee for the 50 year lease is calculated by taking into account the area, the development potential and the distance from the mainland. According to local media reports, prices will vary from US$ 15’000 for a rock of 500 sqm to more than US$ 15 million for islands with fresh water, beaches and excellent touristic potential. The regulations state that buyers must pay for the entire 50-year lease period up front.

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