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”Ghost towns” abandoned in the process of construction are spread across China, with more than 80 in Yunnan Province alone. (Photo by Yusuke Hinata)
The age of 'Great China'

Concrete 'ghost towns' make China's real estate bubble visible

Land prices over twice those in U.S.; many trapped in unfinished homes

Nikkei staff writers | China

SHANGHAI/GUANGZHOU/TOKYO -- A popping sound, not unlike the finale of a fireworks show, echoed through the area, and a cloud of dust billowed up into the air. In late August 2021, 14 unfinished apartment buildings were demolished in Kunming, Yunnan Province.

The developer had run into financial difficulties and abandoned construction. After the buildings went unattended for seven years, it was decided that they should be demolished out of safety concerns. In less than a minute, they collapsed into piles of rubble. It was an unsatisfying end for the massive project.

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