Norway stops Chinese tycoon’s bid on Svalbard

Huang Nubo visited Kirkenes in 2013 in connection with his Icelandic-Chinese poetry festival.

The Norwegian Government is working to ensure that Austre Adventfjord on Svalbard stays on Norwegian hands after one of China’s richest tycoons announced his interested in buying the area.


“It is simply natural that the state intends to take over the property on Svalbard that has been put up for sale”, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries says in a press release.

The 217 square kilometers large plot is one of two privately owned properties on the Arctic archipelago. It has its own mountain and is estimated to hold over 20 million tons of coal. 

A few weeks ago Chinese billionaire, property tycoon and poet Huang Nubo said he would bid for the property and that he is planning to build a resort for Chinese tourists on the island. Nubo has earlier had similar plans other places in the Arctic. In 2011 he bid for a large piece of land in Iceland, where he planned to build a tourist and golf resort. 

Several experts has warned Norway against selling the property on Svalbard to China, claiming that the bid is more connected to international high politics and the possibility to get a foothold in the Arctic.

“With governmental ownership and Norwegian legislation we will have the best possible basis to administer Svalbard for the common good”, Minister of Trade and Industry Monica Mæland says in the press release. The Attorney General is now negotiating with the land owner’s attorney to find a solution.

Bought 100 hectares in Troms
Last week it was announced that Huang Nubo had bought a 100 hectares large property in the picturesque area of Lyngen in Troms. Here he plans to invest NOK 660 million (€81.3 million) over the next 5-10 years in a luxury resort for Chinese tourists.

Nubo is known for giving millions to support art in the countries he invests in. In 2010 Nubo donated 1 million USDto the Iceland-China cultural fund, from which 100,000 USD will be spent to organize a poetry festival every year for a decade. In 2013 the festival was held in Kirkenes.