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Why Is China Building Empty Cities?

Pictures - http://www.businessinsider.com/pictures-chinese-ghost-cities...

And Now Presenting: Amazing Satellite Images Of The Ghost Cities Of China ... The hottest market in the hottest economy in the world is Chinese real estate. The big question is how vulnerable is this market to a crash. One red flag is the vast number of vacant homes spread through China, by some estimates up to 64 million vacant homes. We've tracked down satellite photos of these unnerving places, based on a report from Forensic Asia Limited. They call it a clear sign of a bubble. – BusinessInsider

Dominant Social Theme: Nothing to see here. Just investments.

Free-Market Analysis: Even at the height of the mortgage boom in America, US builders were not erecting empty cities, were they? Did we miss something? In China, apparently they are. In our quest to present what's going on, we've documented some uncanny occurrences over the past two years, including the vacant city of Ordos in Mongolia. But what BusinessInsider has provided us, courtesy of Forensic Asia Limited is a series of satellite images that prove that Ordos is not a unique event.

China is actually littered with what Business Insider calls ghost cities, and the satellite pictures provided would seem to prove it. It's a pretty amazing presentation, showing how the power of the Internet, when married to space technology, can come up with important results. Here are some photo captions from the article:


Video - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yzRvVaxA1dI

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Spain's Version...


"The wreckage of Spain’s once booming construction industry is everywhere. And much of it sits as bad debt on the books of Spain’s banks, which once liberally offered financing to developers and homeowners alike."

Hmmm? Banks!?

Empty Cities

First of all we must acknowledge they have a criminal government which would kill off 95 per cent of the population if no one would ever find out.

Ron Paul sat on a committee once that was investigating abortion and torture in China. There were several key testimonies but I have never heard RP mention anything about it. In essence, the testimony and evidence was extremely disturbing to say the least.

Someone should ask RP sometime what his views were on regarding Chinese abuses of power and their feelings of 'Schadenfreude'.

With all the natural catastrophes happening in that God-forsaken country, these dwelling units would be used to house the displaced and dispossessed.


Number one happy lucky city

Fu Kang nuts.

Foreign Workers

Unemployment everywhere but China is in the 20% range, where do you think all those people are going to go when the Euro dies, how about when the dollar finally dies? Taxes in America and Europe are going to go way up, same thing with restrictions on making new businessess or just expanding businesses.

They'll herd everyone unable to find work into the pretty meat grinder in China. Where they shoot second children, have roving state sponsored murder/organ harvesting vans, and destroy free will.

While the rest of the world is saddled with crushing bureaucracy that saps all their income the residents of China will just have harsh population controls and freedom with beautiful cities.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
Start getting freedom today by dumping Federal Reserve Notes, Stocks, Banks and anything made outside the USA. Buy precious metals, real estate, businesses, food and guns and get your business community to use local or sound currenc


They are building these cities because they have a centrally planned economy that gives money to mayors and tells them they have to create jobs. The empty cities are a result of the failed policies of centrally planned economies. The real estate bubble in China is huge and will pop at some point in the near future.

I Live in one of the Cities

Actually, I live in the new business district of Nanjing. It is an entirely new urban development on the south side of the city of Nanjing proper, more like an extension of the city itself.

When we first moved in, there was little traffic. And lots and lots of construction. High rise apartment buildings and commercial towers. But also, two subway lines, an Olympic caliber athletic complex, wide thorougfares and lots of nice green space. The construction projects move slowly, and many of the buildings are at best partially occupied.

We see the same thing in our visits around China. It is difficult to say what the plan of the central government is, but it is pretty clear that this is not massively mis-allocated private capital that is building all these projects, it is central planning. If private capital were involved, the flow of funds would have been throttled back long ago, and we would see a much different landscape.

It would be naive to say that the Chinese government is making a massive gamble on the wholesale migration of it's population from the country side to the cities as has happened in the past, simply on the speculation of recent past history. More likely, the Chinese government will likely just move people from one area to another. Or, conversely, they may have some long term plan to industrialize an area, and build up the cities and infrastructure to support the inevitable influx of people.

In any event, what we see seems like it is not just large scale urban planning, (which is unlike anything I've ever seen in the west), but "country" planning - the wholesale remaking of an entire society from a backwards and primarily agrarian version to a modern, industrial one.

Think back to when the US created the Interstate highway system, and the impact that had on population patterns, the flows of goods and services, on farming, and the automotive industry. China is doing that now, only with rail and airport facilities as well.

I simply cannot believe that there is no more to these 'ghost towns' than some fools with way too much trade imbalance cash looking for a way to spend it off before it loses it's value. I can only guess that they are planning for some broad vision of the Chinese future.

As an aside, given the quality of Chinese construction, these ghost towns can't last for long, especially if unoccupied. The buildings, even the occupied ones, seem to fall apart quickly, not because of lack of maintenance, but just due to shoddy construction. Quality is an applied veneer on most of what you see here.

Achilles, are you an American

Achilles, are you an American expat, European worker, or what? I've been there myself and found it a dizzying culture, with nearly everyone I came into contact with with nothing on their mind but how to become rich... "gloriously" rich.

American Expat

I'm an American expat working long term in China.

What I've found is the Chinese are by nature industrious and enterprising - as a broad generalization. Your post seems to imply a sense of singleminded greed, and while there are Chinese who are quite...shall we say, 'focused', by and large I find the Chinese are just simple folk who want a little joy in their lives like everybody else. This, after living for decades with little chance for sinificant improvement. There is a still a strong sense of resignation that so many things are beyond the control of the individual, things which we take for granted in the west, and which could give most people the chance at a better life. The politics of pull play a very large part in this frustration. This is simply an indication of the tremendous transition the culture is going through. For most it's just a way of gaining their one chance, that one nitch or avenue, which will give them the best shot at a comfortable life. For many here, the door has recently quickly opened a good sized crack with the liberalization of certain aspects of the economy. For fear that it will close just as quickly, they seek to capitalize on what may be their one and only opportunity for a life beyond a brute, hardscrabble existence. There are, to be sure, less opportunities for the average Chinese than one might think given all the recent development.

It's a common observation, or speculation, among Western expats here (although I don't have first hand experience) that single Chinese women seek out foreigners just for that reason. It may seem that they aren't seeking them out for honest romantic reasons as we might experience in the West, but the reality is, they are, however if they can find a decent foreigner with whom they can make a connection, and thereby gain that shot a decent life, well all the better, and who can begrudge them? Whereas frankly, a Western woman who consciously (or not) seeks out the rich, famous or well-endowed (of one sort or another), knowing that these women have a much greated chance of a good life in the West, which women would you consider the best example of a crass gold-digger? I know how I vote....

My personal experience

My experience in China only stretched across about 7-8 years, but every visit was an eye-popper. I was part of a group seeking to find new low cost suppliers for our business venture, so we visited with factories large and small, some filled with thousands and thousands of workers, and some filled with child labor (which was quite sad, but I also saw the alternative to a job... and that was much worse). I found the Chinese I visited with largely friendly, efficient so long as they had access to modern technology, concerned about doing a good job, some were highly combative when it came to negotiating price and delivery schedules (but our side had a hard negotiator too). I'll never forget my time there, nor will I forget the people I met... despite their country being one comprised of billions, every person is still an individual and not substantially different from any other person any of us may know.

Who can begrudge them...

...Except they got an awful lot of competition with swiss women who are all seeking the same thing. And those women don't back down, they are amazingly hot as well.

China will dump the dollar just like the Doctor said

Not Empty

Their not empty, as when you go to Google Maps you have to really zoom in further. At least with Dantu, Zhenjiang I zoomaged in and saw more cars.

Not a lot of cars but I did see some on the roads.. Heck, if this is really mysterious why not just go China and visit these cities?

Perhaps this is China's failed housing boom lol

I sure wouldn't want to live in one of them...

I sure wouldn't want to live in one of those places. It reminds you of a giant tent city like in Oregon. Scary business!

fireant's picture

They have had to do something with excess dollars.

I think they have probably known for a decade or two that our currency would eventually tank, so they have been busy reducing exposure. It also seems to have given them an opportunity to execute part of the Party's master plan. Boondoggle or a work in progress? The questions are endless, but it has the earmarks of "Agenda 21" type planning concept (herding the workers into city "communes"). Will the government eventually resort to mandating the move? It's got to be an economic drag just sitting empty, and there has to be some anxious investors.
It looks like one of Bernanke's bubbles. China is fighting inflation, which we have exported. Chinese authorities have said recently they have inflation under control. Hmm, now where have I heard that before? If you are going to buy any cheap Chinese stuff, you'd better get it soon. my guess is the inflation wave is starting there.

Undo what Wilson did

When the aliens come to "save" you

Now you know where you'll go. ;)


and kind of scary.




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We have our own!

Looks like we have "ghost cities" too.
Only our empty cites are old ones emptying out!

From another post...
"#2 According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are currently 6.3 million vacant homes in the United States that are either for sale or for rent."

There are 3 or 4 on my street in L.A. area.

Not to mention Detroit, Las Vegas, Florida, etc.

creepy . . . .

and depressing.

it's hard to be awake; it's easier to dream--

These are cities of the future.

built with all the surveilence condiments needed to have total control of people. ALL wireless electronics. my guess. 1984 style

Video games

These are huge video games. They started out with a virtual reality helmet but found that if you're just standing in one position it doesn't seem real enough. So then they had it so you could walk around in the room shooting at virtual monsters. But the game was boring just in one room. Then they made it so that there was a whole building set up for the game.

Then they figured they'd expand it to a full city for an all out virtual game.

The satellite doesn't show the one guy running around with a virtual helmet on who thinks he's shooting zombies.


would be a totally cool game. :-)

"If this mischievous financial policy [greenbacks], which has its origin in North America, should become endurated down to a fixture, then that government will furnish its own money without cost. It will pay off its debts and be without debts. It will hav

The Chinese government

built these cities expecting to get manufacturing contracts from countries around the world. The housing areas are built around ready-to-go factory units and have houses for senior staff, mid-level management, and workers. They were ready to start immediately after the Olympics, but as things turned out, the world-wide economic slowdown stopped people moving businesses to China.



I'm not sure why anyone should get overly-exercised...

... about this. First, these are awfully nice cities. 500 million Chinese living in rural areas might just decide that moving to these cities is not a bad idea. Besides, the government can just tell them to move. They are building high-speed train tracks at a rapid rate to link all these cities. They are not borrowing the money from the US to build their infrastructure.

This beats borrowing from the Chinese to flush down infrastructure and war toilets in Iraq and Afghanistan - $1.1 trillion to date. While we screw around with making the world safe for democracy, China is buying up mines in other countries, building first-world infrastructure and preparing the country for unhindered and continuing economic growth. Our politicians with their neo-con bent are selling us down the river.

Plano TX

I have my suspicions, but I know the "condo" rules:

It’s the human equivalent to battery farming. One worker said: “My job is to put rubber pads on the base of each computer mouse… This is a mind-numbing job. I am basically repeating the same motion over and over for over twelve hours a day.” At a nearby Meitai factory, which made keyboards for Microsoft, a worker said: “We’re really livestock and shouldn’t be called workers.” They are even banned from making their own food, or having sex. They live off the gruel and slop they are required to buy from the canteen, except on Fridays, when they are given a small chicken leg and foot, “to symbolize their improving life.”

Even as their work has propelled China towards being a super-power, these workers got less and less. Wages as a proportion of GDP fell in China every single year from 1983 to 2005.

They can be treated this way because of a very specific kind of politics that has prevailed in China for two decades now. Very rich people are allowed to form into organizations – corporations – to ruthlessly advance their interests, but the rest of the population is forbidden by the secret police from banding together to create organizations to protect theirs. The political practices of Maoism were neatly transferred from communism to corporations: both regard human beings as dispensable instruments only there to serve economic ends.

Who was Chairman Mao, Lionized by Obama’s White house?

And never forget, “Humans, despite our artistic pretensions, our sophistication and many accomplishments, owe the fact of our existence to a six-inch layer of topsoil and the fact that it rains.”

Scary but true. You know

Scary but true. You know these same corporations hope to do the same thing to Americans--it's just a matter of time. I just hope Americans are smart enough not to give up their guns!

great comment

very informative comment...

Thank you & Merry Christmas!

LL on Twitter: http://twitter.com/LibertyPoet
sometimes LL can suck & sometimes LL rocks!
Love won! Deliverance from Tyranny is on the way! Col. 2:13-15

At least they are thinking ahead...

they will have to put all the American-Chinese somewhere once they have bought out our country and turned it into farmland to feed their people. Hope I get one with a view.


Thanks for posting.

LL on Twitter: http://twitter.com/LibertyPoet
sometimes LL can suck & sometimes LL rocks!
Love won! Deliverance from Tyranny is on the way! Col. 2:13-15

Heck, maybe the FED is paying for it with TARP

I saw where we are paying folks in Africa to wash their privates, so building houses in China seems feasible.

*May the only ones to touch your junk, be the ones you want to touch your junk.*