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A Chinese tycoon who plans to dig a canal across Nicaragua has unveiled his latest project -- a $10 billion deal to build a deepwater port in Ukraine, giving him a foothold in Europe, state-run media said Friday.
Wang Jing's Beijing Interoceanic Canal Investment Management Co. and Ukrainian partner Kievgidroinvest will pour a total of $10 billion into building the port, oil reserves and an economic development zone on the Crimean peninsula, the Shanghai Securities News said.
Wang was little known both in China and abroad until he secured the right to dig a waterway in Nicaragua -- estimated to cost $40 billion -- that will rival the Panama Canal and be hugely significant to world trade if it is completed.
Wang has denied any connections with the Chinese government, but reportedly owns a car with military licence plates, broadcasts army songs twice a day in one of his companies and has pictures of Chinese leaders visiting the firm hanging in its lobby.
"The deal was reached with the strong support from the Chinese and Ukrainian governments," the newspaper quoted Wang as saying at the announcement.
"It is significant because it will rebuild the Silk Road on the sea, promote Asia-Europe trade and deepen the cultural, political and economic exchanges between China and the West," he said, comparing it to the ancient trade route linking his country and Europe.
The first phase of the project will see an investment of $3 billion to rebuild the Sevastopol port and construct the deepwater port as well as the economic zone that will house electronic and IT companies, the report said.
Construction will start by the end of 2014 and finish within two years, Wang was cited as saying.
At least $7 billion will be invested in the second phase to build grain and crude oil reserves, natural gas production bases and other facilities, the paper added.