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Jeju’s Immigration Policy Makes Chinese the Largest Land Buyers in South Korea

Chinese have become most generous buyers in South Korea’s land market. As of the first quarter of this year, the area of Chinese-owned Korean land reached 5.7 million square meters, far more than that held by Europeans and Americans. What the Chinese want most out of the purchase of a property in Korea’s Jeju Island is immigration.

With Jeju’s weak economy, the island launched a preferential immigration policy. Starting in February 2010, as long as foreigners invest 500 million won (about 2.7 million yuan, US$0.37 million) in Jeju’s resorts, hotels, and other "residential facilities for the purpose of holidays and rest," they will be qualified to live on Jeju Island for five years, after which they will be granted permanent residency in South Korea, enjoying the same education and health insurance benefits as Korean citizens. After the implementation of this policy, the number of Chinese buyers increased substantially. Chinese-owned land increased from 49,000 square meters at the end of 2010 to 485,000 square meters at the end of March 2013, almost 10 fold in two years.

Chinese buyers of Jeju land come mainly from three areas. The first is northeast cities such as Shenyang; the second is from Beijing; and the third is the Yangtze River Delta cities, including Shanghai and Nanjing. All these three areas are within a two hour direct flight from Jeju.

Source: Beijing Youth Daily, reposted on Xinhua, August 8, 2013