No Chinese resort in Svalbard, after all

In 2014, Chinese billionaire and property tycoon Huang Nubo said he would bid for the property located near Longyearbyen in Svalbard, and that he planned to build a resort for Chinese tourists on site.

Nubo wanted to give Chinese visitors the possibility to experience “Arctic silence and clear air.”

A mountain in the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard (Thomas Nilsen / The Barents Observer)
A mountain in the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard (Thomas Nilsen / The Barents Observer)

A final stop to those plans came last week as the Norwegian Minister of Trade and Industry Monica Mæland announced that her government is cashing out 300 million Norwegian kroner (€33.5 million) for the 218-square-kilometer (or about 84-square-mile) plot.

“We are very happy that this case now seems to come in order,” Mæland says in a press release.

“It is very natural and right that the state takes over the property,” she said as negotiations between the landowners and the Norwegian government started in 2014. “With state ownership and Norwegian legislation we provide the best possible management of Svalbard to the benefit of the public.”

Norway has a key strategic interest in securing its full control over developments in the Arctic archipelago.

The bid by Nubo and the Chinese interests was seen by many as connected with international politics and as an attempt to get a Chinese foothold in the Arctic.

The Chinese businessman is still not leaving Norway empty-handed. In 2014, he bought a 1-square-kilometer piece of land in Lyngen, an area located near the Norwegian Arctic city of Tromsø.