HONG KONG: Hong Kong’s government says it needs to build billions of dollars’ worth of artificial islands to give the city’s glittering skyline room to grow, but critics say developers are hoarding unused land that could solve the problem.Hong Kong’s leader, Carrie Lam, estimates the 1,111-square-kilometre city needs another 1,200 hectares, or about 12 square kilometres, and has proposed creating new land offshore.Her plan, which would cost up to US$64 billion, could exhaust half of the financial hub’s sizeable financial reserves.But major developers, including Henderson Land, New World Development and Sun Hung Kai Properties, are sitting on “no less than 1,000 hectares” of agricultural land, according to government estimates.None of the three developers would clarify exactly how much rural land they hold, either directly or through shell companies. Two declined to comment on their plans for it or why they were sitting on the land.Sun Hung Kai said it has been working to convert its agricultural land for “appropriate developments to help address the shortage of developable land and housing in Hong Kong,” but offered no examples.Holding onto the land until it is rezoned for private development is potentially lucrative. Property prices have more than doubled in the last decade,… Read full this story
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