China's Hypergrowth Fueled By Building Giant Cities No One Lives In

Chin up, America. China ain’t so great. That 10% GDP growth they’ve been having? A lot of it is fake. Take this investigate report that looks at the big trend over there of Chinese ghost cities and ghost malls. China is building ten of these cities a year, cities that can serve millions, with rows of apartment complexes, shopping malls, and universities. But almost no one lives in them. By pouring materials and resources and labor in, the government can keep national GDP at its state-mandated levels, even if its not meeting any real demand. It’s like someone is playing SimCity with all cheat codes, but this is a game China is going to lose.

With 64 million of these apartments sitting empty, too expensive for most Chinese to rent – artificially inflated prices keep “value” up high, which is also helpful on the spreadsheets – they’ve created the largest property bubble in history. The tiger’s paper is wearing thin.

Here’s the transcript.

China’s Ghost Cities [SBS Dateline]