Wandering China

An East/West pulse of China's fourth rise from down under.

Repost and update: China’s Ghost Cities [Youtube/SBS]

Repost and update: Australia’s public service broadcaster SBS tackles the question of China’s overheated domestic economy.

Do these ghost cities hint at domestic growth or domestic waste? Do they allude to a paradigm sift in the Chinese mind? This is probably uncharacteristically ‘not’ frugal. Have they taken the ‘capitalist road’ too far and learnt to be comfortable with excess?

Professor Zhou Xiao Sheng, prominent Chinese sociologist sends a reminder in the video – ‘If it leads to polarisation, then reform has failed…’.

An honest question has to be asked here as it is now well known that China is unable to continue relying on infrastructure investments to spur its economy. It knows its previously lax approach to housing did not work. Genuine Chinese home buyers were quickly priced out of the market in a rapid property bubble upswing. With requirements of up to 50% deposits, genuine buyers sure had a lot to put at stake.

Tie that to the reality of overambitious construction forecasts and we have a strange situation.

64 million (correct as of April 2011) apartments empty while many Chinese youth can’t afford to buy a home (admitted here in state media), something some of them argue as a basic human right. Surely this is a sign of a growing social divide, as forewarned.

This is staggeringly, a number that easily dwarves the number of empty homes in the US (though not by ratio) at 16.8m  (Reuters data in 2009 revealed 1 in 9 homes then were unoccupied).

Unguided zeal more than a veneer of a booming consumer culture? Probably. All eyes on China to learn to make things better.
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Filed under: Australia, Back to China, Beijing Consensus, Chinese Model, Culture, Domestic Growth, Economics, Finance, Government & Policy, Human Rights, Infrastructure, Lifestyle, Modernisation, Population, Property, SBS, Social, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities

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