Another Hainan development: Lan Kwai Fong and Mission Hills tag team


Mission Hill's Ken Chu (left) and Lan Kwai Fong's Allan Zeman.

The Lan Kwai Fong Group and Mission Hills Group announced a partnership yesterday to develop a RMB 2 billion leisure complex located in Haikou, capital of Hainan island.

Upon its completion by the end of 2013, Mission Hills-Lan Kwai Fong-Haikou will be a 240,000-square-meter retail, shopping, entertainment and dining complex that will adjoin the Mission Hills Haikou International Golf Resort, which opened last year.

Ken Chu, CEO and chairman of Mission Hills Group, said that his company will finance the project while Lan Kwai Fong will manage it. He did not offer a breakdown of the financing.

Also on CNNGo: Hugh Grant loves the Mission Hills Resort Hainan, treehuggers don’t


mission hills lan kwai fong haikou

Plans for Mission Hills-Lan Kwai Fong-Haikou.


Hainan highs

Zeman is bullish on the Chinese market in general. He expects visitor arrivals in Hainan to grow to 30 million by next year.

Hainan, also known as “China’s Hawaii,” is an officially sanctioned tourism destination with tax-free shopping for domestic tourists, hot springs, golf and — come 2013 — its very own Lan Kwai Fong.

Also on CNNGo: Hainan’s boom not for everybody

According to the local tourism board, 26 million tourists visited Hainan in 2010.  However, KPMG estimated in 2008 that there are only around 300,000 golfers — or a tiny fraction of the population — in all of China, due in part to the fact that greens fees and membership fees are the highest in the world.

Hence, the partnership with Lan Kwai Fong — bypass the greens and bring the whole family out for a night of karaoke at the world’s largest 19th hole.


mission hills lan kwai fong haikou

The Black Stone course at Mission Hills Haikou.


Ungreen greens

Mission Hills Haikou is the sequel to Mission Hills Shenzhen, which surpassed Pinehurst in 2004 to become the world’s largest golf facility in the world, according to Guinness World Records.

The 10 courses of Mission Hills Haikou are spread over 80 square kilometers. The environmental impact of constructing the mammoth facility has been a cause of concern amongst green groups.

Mission Hills say their Haikou project has created thousands of jobs and was subject to stringent environmental impact assessments.

“Mission Hills has always strived to balance economic benefits to the community with proper stewardship of the environment,” Chu told CNN by email.

Also on CNN: Green fury over China’s golfing Hawaii

“By incorporating low-density development with vast open-space greenbelts, our current project in Haikou has transformed a barren, lava-rock landscape into an economically productive community.”

But Jonathan Smith, chief executive of the Golf Environment Organization, is not easily convinced.

“You have the longer-term concerns,” says Smith. “Where does the water come from, where does the energy come from? Is it all fossil fuels? How much energy is required to desalinate or treat the sewage water?”

Ultimately, Smith hopes to see more transparency in China’s development to ensure accountability and so that local population can adapt to big changes.

“There comes a point, particularly on an island setting, where too much development puts too much pressure on the natural resources, and the cultural heritage and the landscape of that particular region.”

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