The Nicaraguan government and a newly formed company run by a Chinese telecom mogul have signed a memorandum of understanding that commits Hong Kong-based HK Nicaragua Canal Development Investment Co. Ltd. to financing and building the “Great Canal of Nicaragua,” according to a statement released Monday night by investment-promotion group ProNicaragua.
The memorandum stipulates that Nicaragua’s canal will have two components: a traditional waterway for ships and a “dry canal” railroad for freight. Both canals will link deep water ports on the Caribbean and Pacific coasts. Nicaragua has estimated the cost of the canal project at $30 billion.
In addition to financing and building the canals, the memorandum says HK Nicaragua Canal Development Investment will also build a deep-water port at Monkey Point, on the southern Caribbean coast. The agreement also commits the Chinese company to completely remodeling Nicaragua’s Puerto Corinto on the Pacific coast.
While the Chinese company will be charged with managing the construction and financing of the projects, Nicaragua will remain the majority stakeholder with 51% ownership. The structure of Nicaragua’s ownership is still not clear, however.
It’s also unclear what type of canal-building experience the Chinese company running the project has. Nicaragua Canal Development Investment is headed by Wang Jing, the president of Xinwei Telecom Enterprise Group, a Chinese telecom company that specializes in wireless communication technologies, products and services.
But what the Chinese business tycoon may lack in canal-building experience, he apparently makes up for in enthusiasm and vision.
On Xinwei’s website, in a message from the company president titled the “Chairman’s speech,” Wang says his wireless company is dedicated to the “progress of the world civilization.”
“We are confident that we will succeed,” he says, referring to his telecom company’s plans for expansion. “Xinwei is creating history! Xinwei will become a legend!”
If his new canal company can finally fulfill Nicaragua’s centuries’ old canal dreams, Wang will definitely create history and become legend.