South Korea's Hanwa Group to build first course in China


One of the largest multinational conglomerates on the planet, already the owner of a half-dozen golf properties in South Korea and Japan, has laid plans to build its first golf course in China.

Hanwha China, an affiliate of South Korea’s Hanwha Group – number 321 on CNN Money’s Global 500 – plans to build the course on part of the 65,482-acre Longmen resort complex in Dalian, Liaoning Province. Hanwha will master-plan the community, while a Chinese partner, Yida Group, will build it. Yida controls 9,884 acres at Longmen, which has been under construction since the summer of 2010.

Besides the golf course, the partners’ community at Longmen is expected to include houses, a water park, what’s been described as “hot-spring bathing facilities,” unspecified “marine leisure facilities,” parks, and other attractions.

Hanwha Group was founded in 1952 as Korea Explosives, Inc., but its fortunes didn’t really blast off until it began to diversify out of the munitions business. Today the company and its world-wide subsidiaries are involved in various forms of development and construction, aerospace engineering, retailing, insurance sales, securities trading, and the manufacturing of chemicals, electronics, and auto parts. It also owns the Hanwha Eagles, a professional baseball team in Daejeon.

Hanwha China has been doing business in the People’s Republic since the early 1990s, mostly as an importer and exporter of steel and other metals, petrochemicals, and petroleum products. These days it’s reportedly making a major push into China’s solar power business.

The company got into the golf business through Hanwha Hotels & Resorts, which owns 12 resorts (with a total of 4,674 hotel rooms), several theme and water parks, an IMAX theater, and other leisure-industry assets.

Today Hanwha owns three private golf properties in South Korea: Youngin Plaza Country Club, a 36-hole complex in suburban Seoul; Seorak Plaza Country Club in suburban Sokcho; and Jade Palace Golf Club in Chuncheon, which features an 18-hole track designed by Greg Norman. It also owns two properties that are open to the public: Bonggae Plaza Golf Course, a nine-hole layout in Jeju, and the recently opened Golden Bay Golf Resort in TaeAn, which has a 27-hole complex designed by Annika Sorenstam. Golden Bay hosts a professional event, the Hanwha Finance Classic.

In Nagasaki, Japan, the company owns Ocean Palace Golf Club, an 18-hole track it purchased in 2004. The course was originally known as Nagasaki Airport Country Club.

I’m aware that China’s central government has imposed a moratorium on golf construction. Nonetheless, a story in the Korea Times notes that Liaoning’s governor will “actively support” the venture at Longmen as well as any future projects that Hanwha China will undertake in the province.

This story originally appeared in the World Edition of the Golf Course Report, in a slightly different form. For a sample copy of the World Edition, call 301/680-9460 or write to


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