Huang Nubo, chairman of the wealthy property development company Zhongkun, recently purchased a huge plot of land in Iceland, constituting 0.3% of the island's total area, to build a hotel development. Now known in the country simply as Kinverjinn (the Chinaman), he is the type of investor to help pull Iceland out of its 2008 economic slump. While the Chinese are busy "buying up the world," and despite Huang's protests, many fear that this is China's attempt to gain a strategic foothold in Iceland to capitalize on a likely opening of a navigable Northwest Passage due to Arctic ice melt.
The issues that lie in the situation is that a foreigner has acquired a large tract of land, taking advantage of a country experiencing economic turmoil that they are submitting to this exchange for financial reasons. As the world's fastest growing economy that is also not experiencing the financial crisis like many of the globe's developed nations, China has the resources and willpower for such a transaction. With the possibility of a navigable waterway through the Arctic Ocean as a result of global warming, many of the world's greatest nations will clamor to gain access to and control these shipping routes. Yet, since many of these states unable to take action now due to their poor economic circumstances, China is is a position to jump on this opportunity first. This type of control could change the face of power differentials across the world.
Case Studies (non-buildings)
"Hands off our wilderness: An ambitious Chinese entrepreneur spooks wary Icelanders." The Economist. September 24, 2011. http://www.economist.com/node/21530165
"Northern exposure: Within four years, Arctic sea-ice cover has twice reached record lows." The Economist. September 22, 2011. http://www.economist.com/blogs/dailychart/2011/09/melting-arctic-sea-ice-and-shipping-routes