A Chinese businessman behind the plan to build a waterway across Nicaragua to rival the Panama Canal says his ambitions are well-researched and backed by an experienced team despite skepticism over whether the 40-year-old can deliver the $40 billion project.

Wang Jing, chairman and owner of Hong Kong-based HKND Group, told a news conference Tuesday in Beijing: "We don't want it to become an international joke, and we don't want it to turn into an example of Chinese investment failures."

HKDN won approval from Nicaragua to study, and possibly build and run a shipping channel across the central American country.

Wang says his consultants on the project have rich experience and include U.S.-based McKinsey & Co and China's biggest construction firm, the state-owned China Railway Construction Corp.