Chinese neighborhoods turn into ‘ghost towns’ following rapid urbanization

World Today

Urbanization represents a “huge engine” for the country in sustaining economic expansion and driving aspirations to be a middle-income nation. Along the way, the mechanism failed for some people, with some newly built high-rises or even entire districts standing empty.

CCTV’s reporter Han Peng filed this report from Ordos, Inner Mongolia.

Chinese neighborhoods turn into \\\'ghost towns\\\' following rapid urbanization

Chinese neighborhoods turn into \\\'ghost towns\\\' following rapid urbanization

Now we continue with our special series "Agenda in Action", looking at China's pressing issues and challenges. Urbanization represents a "huge engine" for the country in sustaining economic expansion and driving aspirations to be a middle-income nation. But, along the way, the mechanism failed for some... with some newly built high-rises or even entire districts standing empty. CCTV's reporter Han Peng filed this report from Ordos, Inner Mongolia.

Highlights:

  • The city of Kangbashi  in Ordos witnessed a construction boom from 2004 to 2009. Over 50 office buildings, schools and shopping malls mushroomed from the ground of the once uninhabited desert.
  • One of the very few jobs still available is cleaning up of what is left in town.
  • The story had a prosperous start over a decade ago, when a coal rush began in Inner Mongolia. Local farmers sold their land to the miners, and became instantly rich.
  • Encouraged by the boom, the local government also placed big bets. It invested 5.5 billion RMB (about $900 million) to build a huge new town. That was meant to be housing for over one million residents.
  • Over the past few decades, China’s urbanization, billed as the greatest in human history, has been driven by government-led investment.
  • In Kangbashi, urbanization came to a standstill with the unexpected slump in coal prices. Apartments were built, but people never came.
  • Stephen Paul Mortimer

    Why not make it a cheap retirement community or medical tourist attraction for americans? Or China could create a giant medical center