Chinese land ownership on Jeju island back on track despite diplomatic row

By Lim Chang-won Posted : December 4, 2017, 16:25 Updated : December 4, 2017, 16:25

[Jeju Tourism Office]

South Korea's southern resort island of Jeju resurfaced as a place favored by Chinese property investors this year despite a travel ban imposed by Beijing in retaliation for the deployment of an American missile shield, government data showed.

Land owned by foreign nationals accounted for 1.08 percent of the entire island, according to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport. Chinese nationals owned 9.39 million square meters, or 44.4 percent of total foreign ownership in Jeju, followed by Americans with 17.1 percent. Japanese investors were third with 11 percent.

The island has drawn a large influx of Chinese money, helped by a 2010 visa program that grants permanent residency to investors who purchase property worth $50,000 or more. Land owned by Chinese nationals soared from 1.64 million square meters in 2012 to 9.14 million square meters in 2015, with development projects led by Chinese investors that pushed up housing prices. 

Last year, Chinese nationals owned 8.42 million square meters of land on the island, down from a year ago mainly due to a diplomatic row between Seoul and Beijing over a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system. This year, Chinese ownership of land increased again, reflecting a strong interest among Chinese investors in the island's real estate market. The two countries agreed on an early turnaround in soured relations under an agreement announced on October 31.

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