Today, China's economy is the second largest. Huge changes have taken place in just a few years. Despite the country's current economic situation, the path it has taken in this direction, which has led to power, is littered with a somewhat horrifying legacy.
By and large, in the development of its economy, China can be compared to a locomotive. For the past three decades, it has been the world's leader in terms of the speed of economic development. If in Western countries decades were spent on the development and formation of a number of industries, then here people needed only a few years.
In the shortest possible time, industrial special zones with cities built from scratch appeared. They have acquired the status of significant economic centers. The cities were intended for the working class, the indigenous villagers, who, according to the authorities, will change their place of residence and work in connection with the development of industry. From 1984 to 2010, the building area was increased fivefold. If earlier the territory was built up with an area of 8842 square kilometers, then during this time it amounted to 41, 768 square kilometers.
It is worth noting that during the construction of urbanized areas over a three-year period (2011-2013), more concrete was consumed in China than in the United States during the entire last century. But despite the fact that this amazing country in the economic issue took the second place among other countries in the world, there is an outstripping growth rates over demand.
The demand for real estate was much lower than the pace of its construction
The shutdown of a number of production facilities caused a reduction in the workforce, moreover, massive ones. The biggest, notable blow was received by the regions of the northern province surrounding Beijing, for example, Hebei. In the past, the region was a thriving industrial center. The entire Chinese steel industry was concentrated here. Nowadays, most of the state-owned factories have already closed, and private facilities are on the verge of closing. Some other low-tech industries are showing a similar trend. As a result, zombie factories or abandoned plants appear from time to time in all parts of the country.
The transition from steel, metallurgy and other industries to telecommunications, electronics and biotechnology in China has been too fast. In turn, America and Europe went through this stage much more slowly - over the course of decades. New directions developed and strengthened gradually. Here, however, the high-tech revolution took only a few short years. To some extent, rapid changes are the result of measures taken by the country's leadership aimed at restructuring the economy.
Everything was done to the detriment of traditional, widespread industries. The steel foundry has already been mentioned, but in addition to it, it also includes cement, mining. These three industries were hit hardest by the contraction. In the cities of Lü Liang and Changzhi (Shanxi - northern province), located near the Yellow River, today, cement factories are empty. They did not cope with the difficulties and did not survive the hard times.
Some enterprises, due to low sales rates and debts, survive as best they can, trying to pay off loans that were taken from banks during the period of their construction. Today, in many factories, where more than a thousand people used to work, only a small staff remains, the main one, where the number of employees does not always reach a hundred.
All the events described above had a negative impact on the cities built for the working class. New residential buildings with infrastructure did not become a home for residents, because they did not move here from their villages. Whole neighborhoods, which are called ghosts, are in an uninhabited state. Many development companies, whose houses are empty today, have gone bankrupt.
The number of empty Chinese cities is over fifty
A number of studies have been carried out by a Chinese Internet company called Baidu. According to their results, fifty large regions were identified in the country, where the vast majority of new residential buildings remained uninhabited. The study was conducted by examining Internet traffic resources and searching for areas where there is almost no Internet coverage.
One of the ghost towns is Kangbashi. This is a region of a large city in China - Ordos. It was built during the period of prosperity of the coal industry in the region in 2006. Today, only ten percent of the apartments are inhabited here, although three hundred thousand people could live. And it's not the only ghost town. This category includes Tongliao located in Horchin District, Erdos in Dongsheng, and Suzhou, Jiangsu Province. The most interesting thing is that these cities have absolutely everything for a comfortable full-fledged life - new quarters of residential buildings, squares and parks, shopping centers.
Kai Kemmerer, photographer, has been photographing China's uninhabited cities for the past two years. In his opinion, all the strangeness of these cities, in particular, lies in their rapid construction. The speed of their construction was truly incredible. Compared to the Western approach to urbanization, the scale of construction was simply unthinkable. Kemmer also has his own opinion about what these areas are called ghost towns. The photographer says that this definition is more suitable for cities that were previously inhabited by residents, but for some reason people left them.
These points were built, as the expected demand for living space, but, unfortunately, it did not appear. Therefore, everything is ready for the settlement of tenants who may not appear for another fifteen years. Based on this, Kai Kemmer is inclined to call them cities that have not yet been born. How it will actually be, no one knows. Perhaps, a mass resettlement will begin soon, as the government intends to resettle one hundred million residents from villages to cities in the near future. And if everything goes according to plan, then thanks to organized actions there is a chance to breathe life into at least a few of these cities, allow them to be “born” and function.
It was decided to attract tenants to the empty houses of Ordos with the help of special exchange certificates. They were issued to those people from whom the state confiscated real estate, wherever it was in China. A person has the right to exchange the Fangliao certificate for his own real estate in the city of Kangbashi. Also, the country's leadership decided to allocate material assistance to those enterprises that are now in a difficult situation, in the amount of one hundred billion yuan (this is 850 billion rubles). The money can be spent on retraining and relocating staff.
And the government's strategy seems to be working. Today, Zhengdong, a ghost town around Zhengzhou and covering an area of 150 square kilometers, is slowly receiving new inhabitants. Who knows, maybe it’s true, it’s just not time for Chinese ghost towns to be “born”.