SEOUL, July 26 (Korea Bizwire) –‘China money’ is rapidly changing the overall landscape of Jeju Island, the Hawaii of South Korea, well known for its pristine water and scenic beauty, along with its unique culture.
As of the first quarter of this year, Chinese investors owned 3.2 million square meters of the island’s land, about one third of the total land owned by foreigners which stands at about 11 million square meters for the period. The entire size of Jeju Island is estimated at about 1,848 square kilometers, according to data released on July 26, by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport.
Chinese ownership of Jeju property stands out at its rising pace: Chinese land ownership in the island was only 457 square meters in 2005. Upon the introduction to the foreign investment visa program in 2010, the ownership held by Chinese rose to 49,000 square meters and sharply to 1.4 million square meters in 2011 and 1.9 million square meters in 2012.
The special autonomous province also grants permanent residency to real estate investors who purchase its property worth US$50,000 or more. Chinese parents, in particular, who want to enroll their children at the international schools in Jeju Island, are driving Chinese growing presence in this beautiful island, traditionally the most visited honeymoon destination for South Koreans.
These overall trends add up to Chinese ‘major players’ to increase roles in the property development market in Jeju Island. The Greenland Group, China’s second-largest property developer, the builder of one of the China’s tallest towers, decided to invest 1.5 trillion won to construct a large-scale healthcare town in the southern part of the island.
Lamjung, JV between China’s Landing Int’l and Casino operator Genting Singapore PLC, also set to develop a huge multi-purpose resort town in the island which is estimated at 3 trillion won in the development. Jeju Island, once a Chinese tourism gold mine, has become a new haven for many Chinese investors with deep pocket this way.
By Jerry M. Kim (firstname.lastname@example.org)