Throughout China, there are hundreds of cities that have all the makings of a modern city – shopping malls, skyscrapers, beautiful town squares, apartment complexes and even art installations. The only thing missing are the inhabitants – where are all the people?
Asian Property Review talks to Wade Shepard who has written “Ghost Cities of China: The Story of Cities Without People in the World’s Most Populated Country”. Wade argues that these “ghost cities” are actually super successful new urban developments and not ambitious visions gone bad.
APR: Several theories have been advanced as to why these ‘ghost cities’ have been created – among them are:
- China is preparing for mass rural- urban migrations up to the next 25 years involving up to 300 million citizens;
- As a solution to overcapacity and oversupply of construction materials and to provide jobs for its citizens;
- A result of compliance with regulations that make it mandatory for construction to start work immediately after approvals are given;
- China’s long-term plan is to build such enclaves for its citizens along the Belt & Road (BRI) countries. Eventually, China will have Chinese communities loyal to the Chinese motherland all over the world. In other words, it’s conquering the world without firing a single shot; and
- These buildings serve as a means
of parking the buyers’ money in something tangible and solid instead of parking them in banks. This explains why no one is moving in even though the properties are all sold out.
What’s your opinion?
WS: First of all, so-called ‘ghost cities’ do not exist in China. They are the physical manifestation of very advanced planning – say, a 15 – 30 year plan.