NEW SATELLITE PICTURES OF CHINA'S GHOST CITIES

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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.

CHENGGONG is building skyscrapers by the hundreds

Source: World Bank

CHENGGONG already has 100,000 new apartments with no occupants

Source: World Bank

CHENGGONG has two new universities. Both of them look empty

Source: Forensic Asia Limited

Dozens of new developments in JIANGSU with nary a car

Source: Forensic Asia Limited

Brand new, empty houses outside JIANGSU

Source: Forensic Asia Limited

Another empty development outside JIANGSU

Source: Forensic Asia Limited

Expensive lakeside condos in QIANDAOHU were bought by speculators. No one lives there

A commenter at blog.worldbank.org writes:

Several years ago, a company from Hangzhou, China took me on a sightseeing trip to 1000 Island Lake, which is not far from Hangzhou. They showed me a residential development that looked every bit like it came from Southern California. It was in absolutely pristine condition in every way. The houses were fabulous. The view of the lake was magnificent. The odd thing was, there were no cars, no people anywhere. This beautiful town was built with the expectation by the individual owners of each property that they would sell their property in the future at a profit, but none of them wanted to live there themselves because it was too far from where business was conducted. So, it was pure speculation and investment risk. I have no idea if anyone moved into that town yet or not, but it would certainly be a nice place to retire to.

Already twice as big as Los Angeles, CHANGSHA is expanding rapidly to the east and the west

Source: Forensic Asia Limited

Here's one of the giant empty developments outside CHANGSHA

Source: Forensic Asia Limited

China's most famous ghost city, ORDOS, has been empty for years

Source: Forensic Asia Limited

Empty houses in ORDOS

Source: Forensic Asia Limited

More empty houses in ORDOS -- with a luxury development in the upper right

Source: Forensic Asia Limited

No cars in ORDOS, except for those parked at the glamorous government centre

Source: Forensic Asia Limited

China is putting $19 billion into ZHENGZHOU NEW DISTRICT -- a megacity with 2 financial centres and 15 universities

Source: Forensic Asia Limited, KPMG

ZHENGZHOU NEW DISTRICT is filled with glamorous public buildings

Source: Forensic Asia Limited

Fireworks celebrate the opening of empty apartment buildings in ZHENGZHOU NEW DISTRICT

ERENHOT was built in the middle of a desert in Inner Mongolia

Source: Forensic Asia Limited

Half of ERENHOT is empty, the other half is unfinished

Source: Forensic Asia Limited

ERENHOT even has a luxury hotel

Source: Forensic Asia Limited

See that orange area to the north-east of the Xinyang?

Source: Forensic Asia Limited

It's a giant new development, which doesn't yet have a name

Source: Forensic Asia Limited

No cars in the city except for around 100 clustered around the government headquarters

Source: Forensic Asia Limited

The city of DANTU has been mostly empty for over a decade

Source: Forensic Asia Limited

In most neighborhoods of DANTU, there are no cars, no signs of life

Source: Forensic Asia Limited

An empty neighbourhood in DANTU

Source: Forensic Asia Limited

Another empty neighbourhood in DANTU

Source: Forensic Asia Limited

The mostly empty city of BAYANNAO'ER, which boasts a beautiful town hall and World Bank-sponsored water reclamation building

Source: Forensic Asia Limited

Finally, here's a picture of the unprecedentedly huge NEW SOUTH CHINA MALL -- which has been 99% empty since 2005

Source: Forensic Asia Limited

One of many shocking aspects of the biggest growth spurt ever

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