China plans to build 20 cities a year for the next 20 years. The unacknowledged problem is finding buyers for those hundreds of millions of new homes.
Last year we published images of ghost cities based on a report from Forensic Asia Limited. This week we asked analyst Gillem Tulloch what has happened in the past six months.
"China built more of them," Tulloch said. "China consumes more steel, iron ore and cement per capita than any industrial nation in history. It's all going to railways that will never make money, roads that no one drives on and cities that no one lives in."
"It's like walking into a forest of skyscrapers, but they're all empty," he said of Chenggong.
Tulloch described a recent visit to a fishing village near Hong Kong, where new apartments are selling for up to $80,000. "People there were joking that no one in Denaya could afford to live there," he said. If these apartments sell at all, it is to speculators.
Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/chinese-ghost-cities-2011-5#ixzz1QFL0N8aH
A related story: 18 Facts about China That Will Blow Your Mind. My favorites:
China consumes 53% of the world's cement... and 48% of the world's iron ore... and 47% of the world's coal... and the majority of just about every major commodity.
China's GDP per capita is the 91st-lowest in the world, below Bosnia & Herzegovina.
If he spent his ENTIRE YEARLY INCOME on housing, the average Beijing resident could buy 10 square feet of residential property.
The world's biggest mall is in China... but it has been 99% empty since 2005.
I subscribe to World Architecure News. I can go back into the archives and pick literally any week and find some boondoggles that are being constructed in pursuit of growth. One particular week featured two museums:
The Guangdong Museum is one of four major cultural landmark buildings for the new financial hub in Zhujiang Xincheng (Pearl River New Town) of Guangzhou. Rocco Design Architects Ltd. was announced winner of an international invited competition in May 2004 and was subsequently appointed as design architect of the project. The five-storey museum has a total floor area of approximately 67,000 sq m.
Chinese artistry, and here the practice has deliberately referenced the difference between Western and Chinese painting, the latter of which was the grounding force behind this abstract cultural complex. Steven Holl Architects relates that the design: “explores the Parallel Perspective of Chinese space. Perspective is the fundamental historic difference between Western and Chinese painting. After the 13th Century Western painting developed vanishing points in fixed perspective.
How about the recently completed Guangzhou Opera House (I wonder how many people in China attend the opera?):
See how easy that is? And those are just from this year so far. Let's not omit the granddaddy of them all - a 2.3 million square foot hotel in Beijing with a 107,000 square foot indoor rainforest!!!