China’s stunning economic development is often looked upon with awe by most other countries – no other nation has progressed as rapidly as the Middle Kingdom has over the last 20 years or so.
But unfortunately, as our Chinese friends are beginning to learn, such rapid economic success does come with a price – and in China’s case, a most unusual one at that. One of the strangest phenomenons China is current experiencing is that of the ghost town – huge great urban expanses that remain completely uninhabited.
China is undergoing an enormous transformation – yet much of it is completely devoid of all sense. They are constructing huge housing projects that nobody can afford, and in the case of places like Erenhot or Ordos, they are building brand cities in the middle of nowhere – urban centers that remain almost completely uninhabited.
Incredible satellite images show a number of cities that lie completely empty, including some that are twice as big as Los Angeles. A recent report showed that over 70 million homes in China lie uninhabited while it continues to build on average 10 completely new cities each year. More worrying, China has recently announced that they are to step up construction to 20 cities each year for the next twenty years!
One incredible example is the empty city of Kangbashi, which can be found in Inner Mongolia. Originally planned as a major urban center for the nearby Ordos city, it boasts of office towers and apartment buildings, administrative centers, recreational facilities, theatres, museums and sports centers, together with homes for thousands of families – yet the entire city is practically deserted.
“China uses more cement, more steel and more iron ore than any other country in the world, and it’s all being wasted on railways that people will never use, roads that will never be driven on and cities that nobody lives in,” says Gillem Tulloch of Forensic Asia Limited. “It feels eerie, walking through a concrete jungle that no one lives in.”