News Summary: China businessman promises canal

Chinese businessman, despite obscurity, upbeat about success of proposed Nicaragua canal

Associated Press

FROM THE EAST: The Chinese businessman behind plans to build a waterway across Nicaragua to rival the Panama Canal said that his ambitious project is no joke and that he is backed by experienced consultants, despite skepticism that the 40-year-old can deliver the $40 billion project.

OUT OF NOWHERE: Wang Jing, chairman and owner of Hong Kong-based HKND Group, is a relative newcomer whose business history prior to 2010 is virtually unknown. He got approval from Nicaragua's government earlier this month for HKND to study, and possibly build and run a shipping channel across the Central American country. Some Nicaraguan lawmakers and residents have expressed reservations about the company's competence.

DOWN THE MIDDLE: Wang said his team is proposing ways to minimize risk, for example by routing the canal through the middle of Nicaragua to avoid any potential border dispute with neighboring Costa Rica. Wang said that he hopes to deliver the feasibility report a year from now, and that the project would break ground by the end of 2014 and be completed in less than six years.

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