It’s time for another round of stories about ghost cities in China, this time in the southwest near Kunming (dear FT, you guys are awesome, but can you please make your paywall a little less tight-arsed?):
Chenggong is a new town near Kunming, one of the main cities in the south-west of China. Construction started in 2003 and the results are now apparent in 13 immaculate local government buildings, each clad in marble tiles. A high school boasts an impressive indoor swimming pool and several of the region’s main universities have built large campuses. Pristine high-rise apartment blocks stand in rows, their new windows glinting in the subtropical sun.
The one drawback: at the moment, Chenggong is almost completely empty. Its wide streets are all but bereft of traffic, a bank branch has no customers and leaves collect in the foyers of the municipal offices.
(Update: am I seeing things, or have the FT (hi Alphaville!) moved this article outside the paywall? If so, two thumbs up.)
Memo to CCP: the capitalist running dog lackeys of the decadent western media will stop writing about boondoggle ghost cities when you stop building boondoggle ghost cities.
And in related “WTF, China?” news: Huaxi, a town 50 miles down the road from Shanghai with 30,000 people and a per-capita income of about US$12,000 p.a. (which makes it the “richest village in China”), is building a residential tower that will be one of the 30 tallest buildings in the world. (With 200 residents able to pony up US$1.5 million each for a share in the tower, it probably has the highest Gini coefficient in the world as well.) But it gets better:
Huaxi has an even more ambitious project coming up: a 6 billion yuan, 538-meter skyscraper that would today rank as the world’s second tallest. The only loftier building is the new Burj Khalifa in Dubai.