All over China neighborhoods are being demolished to make way for the future: bigger roads, huge shopping malls, and apartment blocks.
Recently, people started to voice their concern about China’s construction boom. Headlines like Success Hurts: China’s Building Boom Is Over or Sharp falls in China’s once-booming property market are all over the news. Honestly, I am not a regularly follower of China’s property market. Actually, I couldn’t care less about falling prizes or bursting bubbles, or whatever experts have to say.
I have been living in China for a while now, and have seen the changes with my own eyes. Yes, there are whole ghost cities, empty apartment blocks, and shopping malls. But don’t be fooled, most of those empty places will be crowded in just a few years’ time. Just taking the city I live in now as an example.
Bozhou – A city under construction
Five years ago, Bozhou was more like a village than a city. You would still meet the occasional donkey on the street, no western shopping malls and no tall apartment buildings.
The first western supermarket (Wallmart) opened 2011, the first McDonalds in 2012. Now I have counted at least four McDonalds, three KFCs, two new western Supermarkets are soon to be opened (including Carrefour), and to top everything up, Bozhou’s housing construction boom started three years ago.
I am just amazed. When Bozhou started to develop it’s northern parts, voices expressed the same concerns, we can now read in daily newspapers. “No one will move in!”, “All those shopping malls will stay empty”… Yes, the first two years most of those new build places looked ghost-like, but now everything is booming with life. And because of the success, Bozhou started to open up to the south as well.
That’s where I am living now. I feel excited to be part of this place. Yes, everything is under construction, tall apartment buildings everywhere, half empty, half constructed, but in the end, it will be amazing. Half of the apartments are already sold. Let’s not be fooled, in a country like China with a population of 1.3 billion, every apartment will find its rightful owner.
The government has done an amazing job here. When they started the project of Bozhou’s South Part, they not just included tall apartment buildings, but implemented a whole lake, trees, parks, schools, kindergartens, anything to make the city look nicer. At the moment there is an airport, and two fast train stations under construction.
China is changing so fast. Every single city in China is developing at a speed; no one would have thought would be possible. It is not all negative and bad. People are actually happy about improving conditions.
I am glad; I can be part of the process. And I enjoy every walk to work; walking past the construction sites, taking a break in the newly build park at the lake, enjoying a stroll in the newly opened mall.
How are your experiences with China’s construction boom? Do you think they should stop building?
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