Dubai: Nakheel, developer of The World cluster of man-made islands off Dubai, has sold 35 plots this year.
A company spokesman said so far about 45 per cent of the 300 islands, which collectively resemble the shape of a world map, have been purchased by individual investors and commercial developers.
The latest deal was for the "Shanghai" island, bought by Chinese businessman Bin Hu for $28 million.
Hu, a Shanghai developer, is understood to be a big fan of the emirate and has plans to create the "Dubai Street" in China's booming business hub. The street will have replicas of well-known Dubai icons.
To claim his property on The World, Hu visited the "Shanghai" island and planted the Chinese flag, an exercise reminiscent of a similar act by British billionaire Sir Richard Branson, who planted the Union Jack on "Great Britain" to mark the launch of his Virgin Atlantic's direct flights between the United Kingdom and Dubai. The Chinese businessman also brought earth from Shanghai with him and scattered it over the 322,000 square foot island.
Nakheel has not disclosed the value of all the island deals and in many cases buyer names have been kept a secret. Half of the islands have been sold for prices ranging between $20 million and $50 million, the Nakheel spokes-man said.
This year, "Greece" was sold for $15.5 million, and "Tokyo" fetched $45 million.