HONG KONG's HK Nicaragua Canal Development Investment Group (HKND) has announced it will delay construction of its US$50 billion canal across Nicaragua until late 2016, reports The Associated Press.
HKND chairman and CEO Wang Jing, who is using his personal fortune to help fund the Nicaraguan challenge to the Panama Canal, suffered enormous losses in the recent market slump in China.
Mr Wang's reported net worth had dropped from US$10.2 billion at the peak of the stock market rally in June to only US$1.1 billion in October.
HKND has won approval for environmental studies for the canal earlier this month. But on Wednesday, the company said "construction of locks and the big excavations will start toward the end of 2016".
The company gave no reason for the delay, but said that "the canal's design is currently being fine-tuned".
Mr Wang, a telecommunications entrepreneur, was listed among the world's 200 richest, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. His 84 per cent drop in 2015 is the worst recorded by the index.
Nicaraguan authorities, led by Daniel Ortega, also president of the Sandinista party, has already approved the proposed 278-kilometre route for the canal.
Ground has been prepared for access roads, but there has been no digging of the waterway itself. The plan has drawn protests from farmers who fear their land will be expropriated.
Source : HKSG.