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Sat 20 Oct 2007 04:00 AM

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Shanghai owner aims to buy 'China' on The World

Chinese businessman behind 'Shanghai' buy will bid to purchase every one of the six islands that represent China on iconic project.

The Chinese businessman behind last week's purchase of ‘Shanghai' on Nakheel's The World, will bid to purchase every one of the six islands that represent China on the iconic project.

According to sources close to the president of real estate developer Zhongzhou International Holding Group (ZIHG), and within Nakheel, Mr Bin Hu has already expressed his desire to "paint the World red", by snapping up a swathe of islands on the man-made archipelago.

So far four Chinese developers have bought islands on The World: in addition to ZIHG, Chinese companies have snapped up Beijing, Taiwan and Hong Kong. However, Bin Hu's ambition is to own the whole of ‘China' as it is represented on the island project. He is keen to open negotiations with the as yet unnamed company that currently owns Beijing.

"Personally, this is just the start of my investment in Dubai," he told Arabian Business. "We are testing the water, and if things go smoothly then I will definitely increase my investment in the emirate."

Bin Hu paid US$28m for the 322,000-sq ft island, which he intends to develop into a luxury development featuring an exclusive hotel and resort, and a series of palatial private villas. The other ‘China' islands are Macao, Beijing, Huainan, Nanjing, and Hong Kong.

"This project is not a normal project; it is not like any other project; it is unique and a piece of history," he said. "It is one for the heart, and I am very proud that I will be able to construct Shanghai Island in Dubai."

Bin Hu marked the purchase event by planting a Chinese flag in the ground and scattering earth brought back from Shanghai over the island.

Prices for islands range from US$15m to US$50m, but the total cost of developing an island is much higher as the owners are expected to meet all infrastructure requirements. Around 40% of the 300 islands that make up The World have been sold so far.

Some of the islands represent countries, while others represent cities. In August this year, Nakheel revealed that it had sold the island of Greece for US$15.5m to an undisclosed buyer.