by Lucy Hornby
The marketing of “Theland” milk powder says it all — cows graze on emerald grass below white clouds shaped like New Zealand. “A Cow per Acre” reads the slogan on the package.
For anxious mothers in China’s crowded cities, Theland’s promise of space and quality in faraway places comes through loud and clear. They are not the only ones beguiled. Chinese businessmen, tired of thin margins at home, are lured by the promise of big tracts of land overseas.Pengxin, a little-known Shanghai real estate developer that owns Theland, will become the world’s largest private landowner if Australia’s authorities clear its most ambitious bid yet: to gain control of the grazing lands of the S Kidman & Co cattle empire. That, plus holdings in New Zealand, make Pengxin the boldest of Chinese corporations investing in land, and has helped trigger a backlash.
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