Hong Kong Set To Build Artificial Islands; Reveals $80 Billion Budget For Project

Hong Kong Property
(Photo: REUTERS/Bobby Yip)

Hong Kong plans to build a new metropolis in the western part of its island. The budget for this project has been revealed and with HK$624 billion or roughly US$80 billion, it will be the most expensive infrastructure in the history of the city.

South China Morning Post reported that this hefty price tag is equal to half of Hong Kong's fiscal reserves. It was revealed that this amount also includes the budget for the reclamation of the land for the artificial islands, infrastructure, and improvement of transportation. The project is called the Lantau Tomorrow Vision and its main aim is to build residential grounds in order to help with easing the current housing crisis.

Michael Wong, secretary for development, said at the press conference on Tuesday, March 19 that HK$256 billion or more than a third of the given budget will be used for building the artificial islands that will measure 1,000 hectares along the Lantau Island.

"Since the proposal has been announced, there has been much concern in the community on whether building artificial islands and related infrastructure would drain government coffers and leave us broke," the development secretary said. "We have looked into it and our conclusion is that it won't."

Channel News Asia notes that the proposed man-made island will cost four times the spent on the construction of the Hong Kong International Airport. The projected billion dollar budget also surpassed the amount spent on building Dubai's famous palm-tree shaped Palm Jumeirah that was reported to have used up US$12 billion for its building.

In any case, it was Hong Kong's chief executive, Carrie Lam, who first brought up and proposed the lavish plan. She pitched this project as part of her annual policy address in 2018. Lam also mentioned that the government would fulfill her vision within the 20 or 30 years timeframe.

The idea for the pitch came about as Hong Kong's land supply became scarce. This shortage led to higher property prices that they were so steep that it was called the least affordable in the world.

Meanwhile, it was stated that the Hong Kong government has enough funds to finance the Lantau artificial island as they can spread out the costs over a long period of time. Based on the survey conducted by the Hong Kong Institute of Surveyors, it was estimated that commercial and residential land in the artificial islands will give Hong Kong some HK$970 billion to HK$1.14 trillion in profits.

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