“Beside an ebbing northern sea /While stars awaken one by one, /We walk together, I and he.”
The words of a poet conjure up splendid views of the ocean, greenery and the untouched nature of an island, the sound of tidal waves ebbing and flowing…all these and more are now available for you to own, as islands are being put up for sale by Shandong province.
Starting mid-March, Shandong will recruit “island owners” for over 500 islands under its jurisdiction, all of which are currently uninhabited, iqilu reports. Whoever is interested can apply for the ownership of an uninhabited island for up to 50 years, but the owner is expected to develop the island rather than simply enjoy the satisfaction and opportunity of idling away on his or her secluded private isle. If you don’t develop the island, your ownership will be revoked within two years.
Usage rights of the uninhabited islands will be up for bidding, auction, and sale if they meet two or more of certain goals such as tourism, entertainment or industry, according to the Shandong Provincial Oceanic and Fishery Department.
So it all comes down to wealth. To develop an island, it is estimated that the island owner will need over a hundred million RMB (around 16 million USD). Taohua island, for instance, required 8.45 million RMB to recover its ecological environment, construct seawalls, plant trees, and build infrastructure. The cost of constructing a building on an uninhabited island is three to five times as much building the same one on land. Once you factor in fresh water and electricity, as well as building a ferry and buying boats, making a “Cast Away” island livable becomes a pit to throw money into.
The irony is that the official principles of letting people buy islands are: “scientific planning, prioritize protection, develop reasonably, and utilize sustainably”. Ultimately, the government has posed a difficult, almost insolvable question: how can you protect an island’s ecological environment via construction and development?
Have you got the guts, money, and knowledge to make a bid?