A growing number of super-wealthy Chinese are buying private vacation islands in exotic locales around the world.
Guangdong-based entrepreneur Lin Dong is one such island buyer. Later this month, he is traveling with 5 fellow entrepreneurs on an island-buying trip to Fiji, Tuvalu, and Tahiti.
“[Owning a private island] is the top of the pyramid in the luxury market,” Lin said. “It’s like an aircraft carrier in some ways in that you need be equipped with private jets and yachts before really owning an island.”
Lin, who made his money as the founder of a medical equipment company, purchased his first island on a lake in Heyuan in Guangdong province in 2006. Since then, Lin has been on an island-buying spree, now owning more than 40. After failing to close on the purchase of an island lake in Canada, Lin found plenty of opportunities to buy island real estate in the South Pacific, reports South China Morning Post.
Lin has formed an association of approximately 60 island-owners from mainland China. He organized the upcoming South Pacific trip after Wendy Wei Mei Wu, a former property developer in Auckland, New Zealand, purchased a 217-hectare Island off the country’s North Island coast for US$5.3 million earlier this year.
Fiji was the group’s primary destination due to its 300 islands and reasonable land prices. Lin said, “Islands there are not expensive, about 3 million yuan for one island.” He added, “Fiji is located in the South Pacific where the environment is very beautiful and the location is good as direct flights will begin soon.”
Though China is home to 6,500 islands larger than 500 square meters each in size, according to the National Administration of Surveying, Mapping, and Geoinformation, Lin prefers to look overseas for islands, as he has faced land disputes with the Chinese government on earlier purchases. Each Chinese island is owned by the government, but land-use rights can be sold for 50 years.
image credit: sinead friel