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Monday, 14 April 2014
Deep, Dark, Cold in China's Ghost Cities
Here in the frigid, wind-battered northeast Chinese port city of Yingkou, real-estate developer Zhang Wang is hoping that weather might be a selling point for potential apartment buyers.
Temperatures in the region plunge to -30 degrees Celsius (-22 Fahrenheit) in the winter. But in Yingkou, they bottom out at a mere -20 degrees, he says. Maybe he can get some buyers looking for a better climate.
Cities like Yingkou in China’s northeast rust belt were among the earliest cities in the country to be overbuilt. In 2005, now-Premier Li Keqiang was party secretary of Liaoning province, where Yingkou is located. He pushed a massive restructuring project to wean the region from its reliance on steel, coal and mining.
As Mr. Li moved up the government ranks, developers counted on his endorsement as an implicit government backing of the region’s future development, developers and analysts say. Yingkou, along with other cities, sold vast tracts of lands to developers to build apartments for the workers who – they hoped – would populate the new factories, malls and industrial parks to come.
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