China’s fearsome future: ghost cities

ghost city


Spanning over three decades since its limited market reforms in 1978, China has seen a dramatic rise in GDP growth unprecedented in any scales before. It was still one of the world’s poorest when it decided to open up, with GDP per capita little more than 100 US$; as of today, it is, having defeated other ages-old industrial powers like Japan, Germany, France, and United Kingdom, the world’s second largest economy, with GDP values now gradually threatening those of the United States.

Okay, calm down, Washington, Beijing’s not gonna reclaim your throne that soon.

Since 2012, though, China has already experienced a slowing down, and, apparently, many of the by-products resulting from its overheating growth are now being felt across the whole country. Overproduction, property bubble, and environmental destruction, these are only a handful of negative consequences the country’s over-rapid growth has caused.

And property bubble, in particular, despite the country’s increasingly growing middle-class strata, has become a tremendous headache for the central government themselves. For this reason, the costs being paid are highly painful: ghost cities are mushrooming elsewhere. Imagine scenes of skyscrapers, shopping malls, office towers, and government buildings, and there are barely any persons living inside. They are plain dead concrete structures, with a complete void surrounding everything.

Ghost cities, in short, are merely tips of a huge iceberg, of something deeply going wrong with Chinese economy.


See the full photographs in Business Insider, and be ready to get yourself surprised.


Bonus: you can view GIFs here to see how spectacularly Chinese cities have grown in the last three decades (although some of them end up completely empty), still in Business Insider.

Even more bonus: Chinese developers, indeed, once built a huge metropolis in Angola, one of the country’s closest African oil trading partners, only to find out the whole city was completely uninhabited. See the pictures in the same website here.

I Explored China’s Biggest Ghost City, And It’s Even Crazier Than People Think




Darmon Richter, a freelance writer who blogs about the world’s bizarre places in his The Bohemian Blog, paid a visit to one of China’s landmark ‘ghost cities’, Ordos, which, as analysts are concerned regarding the country’s unprecedented rise in debt levels, will become the dominant face of China’s urban future.

Read the full article, and look at its dazzling photographs, in Business Insider.




Inner Mongolia is an interesting place. Once the birthplace of Genghis Khan, only 79% of the population belong to China’s predominant Han ethnicity, while 17% are of Mongol origin. It was once a part of Greater Mongolia, though consecutive Chinese empires and the latter-day rise of the Communist Party saw Inner Mongolia moulded and cast, time and time again, as a subservient province of China.

Interestingly however, Inner Mongolia is one of the only places in the world that still uses traditional Mongolian script. While Mongolia itself adopted Cyrillic during the communist years, perhaps the Mongols of China felt they had more to prove; clinging fiercely on to their heritage, and with it, the ancient characters that still now appear on street signs across Ordos and Kangbashi.

When a conglomeration of property developers began planning a new urban centre just outside the existing city of Ordos in 2003, the Kangbashi New Area, Ordos seemed set to become the futuristic jewel in China’s crown of city states.

However, nobody quite anticipated how quickly this new development would fall flat on its face. Deadlines weren’t met, loans went unpaid, and investors pulled out before projects could be completed – leaving entire streets of unfinished buildings. The ridiculous cost of accommodation in this dream city put off many would-be inhabitants, so that even fully completed apartments became difficult to sell.