China at a Crossroads in Shift from World’s Factory to Industrial Power

(…..) Huang Nubo has trouble understanding why his latest project is controversial. “I’m hurt by the mistrust with which I and the entire Chinese nation were met”. He is talking about Iceland and, more specifically, about an almost virgin piece of land in northeastern part of the island, complete with waterfalls, snow-covered peaks, called Grimsstadir a Fjöllum. Mr. Huang fell in love with this wildly romantic stretch of wilderness during a visit to Iceland. He wanted to acquire 30.639 hectares (about 120 square miles) of the land and invest about $200 million in property. The plans included a 120-room hotel, a golf course and a riding facility, which could all be reached via a new airport built specifically for the site. Some of the public in Iceland, a NATO country, saw potential deal as a sellout and even envisioned looming geopolitical problems. One commentator even likened the entrepreneur to Dr. No, the villain of 1962 James Bond film of the same name. Huang’s party connections were brought up, to support the theory that it was merely a cover for sending an agent to Iceland. Many had their suspicions about “noticeable” proximity of Grimsstadir site to a deep-water port. Was this man really working for the Communist Party and planning to build a base for Chinese polar ambitions? Huang has lost his initial enthusiasm for Iceland project, and now he is retreating more and more into his third passion, next to making money and conquering nature: writing poetry. Several volumes of his prizewinning verses have already been published. At night, after the employees have gone home, he sits among his sharks and pygmy rabbits, writing verses like: “Whose smiling face would be no mask / And whose heaven no exile.” The fears of some Icelanders make sound like paranoia, but they are not unfounded. China and its entrepreneurs are acquiring all kinds of assets all over the world, in many cases their actions are strategic in nature, including acquisition of farmland in Mozambique, copper mines in Afghanistan and ports in Greece. China is on a global buying spree, and it sees the current economic crisis in Europe and the United States as an historic opportunity to energetically press ahead with its offensive. The financial services firm PricewaterhouseCoopers estimates China’s so-called red capitalists spent $23.9 billion on shares in foreign companies in first half of 2012, or three times as much as in the same period last year. The commodities sector is a case in point. In Mid-July, state-owned energy giant Sinopec spent $1.5 billion for almost half of Canadian company Talisman Energy’s oil and gas rights in the North Sea. Almost concurrently, CNOOC, another Chinese energy giant, bought the Canadian firm Nexen for more than $15 billion. Planners in Beijing hope these deep-water drilling specialists will help them achieve the breakthrough in industrial policy that they need to expand in the Pacific. CNOOC is main Chinese player in oil and gas exploration in disputed waters that are also being claimed by neighbors Vietnam, Philippines, Malaysia and Japan, with which there is even talk of possible war over the claims (…..)



Acerca de ignaciocovelo
Consultor Internacional


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