The Liaoning province in northeast China contains hundreds of islands, most of them empty and uninhabited, and China wants to rent them out. The Liaoning Finance and Natural Resources departments announced in July the different price categories for renting out an island in the province.
These government-owned islands start as low as $535 USD per hectare (2.57 acres) per year, according to the state-run news agency Xinhua. However, there are multiple factors that determine the rent price of an island. There are six “socioeconomic development” tiers that determine the rent of the island, with higher ranks being more expensive.
There are also nine possible categories of use for the island, each one having its own price tier. These categories include fishing, tourism, agriculture, renewable energy, etc. There is also regulation on land reclamation and other land development, which could bring the price up 20x higher. These regulations are in place to prevent environmental damage, according to Xinhua.
The most expensive islands can even cost up to $3.26 million USD per hectare per year.
The Liaoning province
The Liaoning province occupies an area of 56,332 square miles with a population of 43.9 million (2012). Liaoning is a coastal province famous for the Imperial Palace and three mausoleums of the Qing Dynasty, which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The capital of Liaoning, Shenyang, is about 430 miles east of Beijing.
The province includes the most islands in northern China – a whopping total of 633 islands. Of these, only 44 are inhabited while the remaining are empty. The recent move in renting out the islands comes after pressure on ocean resources in the region have increased, leading to ineffective and extensive use, the Xinhua report details.
Yu Xingguang, a member of China’s Third Institute of Oceanography, said that tourism and entertainment are the two main categories of use for rented out islands, according to the state-run Global Times. Reportedly, the complex pricing scheme and tiers was framed with environmental protection in mind.
“The values of islands are carefully calculated after field research, and ecological factors, such as rare species, fresh water, beaches and other resources also have to be taken into account in the overall plan,” said Yu in the Global Times report.
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