China’s ambitious urbanization plan has helped create many ghost cities.
Two years after visiting some of China’s most infamous ghost cities and malls, Australian reporter Adrian Brown revisited them for SBS Dateline to see if they had changed.
His tour of Tianducheng, the Paris replica that we reported on, the South China Mall, and Kangbashi in Ordos, China’s most famous ghost city, showed that they were still empty.
Tom Miller, a Chinese urbanization expert told Brown, it’s as though Chinese officials “basically draw a circle on a map and they build it, and then they expect people to go and move in.”
The “gamble” is that cities might be empty now, but they will be filled up later, an argument Stephen Roach has previously made.
While some argue that this is symptomatic of a massive property bubble in China, this really shows the presence on individual property bubbles across China.
A local said even though there are more people in the city now, there aren't enough to support businesses.
This local said people didn't care for the architecture, they just bought homes because they were cheap.
The local government has taken over the mall now and classified it as a National tourist attraction.
Billions of dollars are now being spent on a makeover that would include an 'apartment and villa complex.'
It's this 'build, build, build mentality' that has some people worried about a property bubble in China.
Population pressures didn't emerge in Ordos so a lot of that construction has gone to waste, author Tom Miller told SBS Datline.
'In places like Beijing and Shanghai there's still massive demand for housing, and there isn't enough housing.'
The project began two years ago when army engineers cut the tops off 700 mountains and filled in the valleys.
To build a 130,000 hectare (approx 321240 acres) metropolis, all of which is part of China's ambitious urbanization plan.
China wants to move more than 400 million people from the countryside to the city in the next 10 years.
Lanzhou New Area's deputy mayor Guo Zhiqiang said his city would not make the same mistakes as Ordos.
Local government officials arranged for Brown to meet with local farmers that were being displaced to make way for the new city.
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