A Hong Kong property tycoon wants to build a new city in Ireland to host 50,000 emigrants from the Chinese island.

Ivan Ko, the founder of the Victoria Harbour Group, is searching for a 50 sq km site between Dublin and Belfast, where he intends to create a new city – Nextopolis – from scratch.

Of six locations under consideration the favourite is a site between Drogheda and Dundalk, near the border with Northern Ireland and within striking distance of Dublin airport.

A department of foreign affairs spokesperson in Dublin confirmed there had been talks with Ko but appeared to pour cold water on the idea.

Ko’s original plans were for an autonomous city of half a million people spread over 500 km.