In China, a City With Lots of Buildings, but Few People ... Patrick Chovanec, who teaches business at Tsinghua University in Beijing, says the building boom is driven by frenzied investors — not the housing needs of millions of migrating workers. "People are using real estate as an investment, as a place to store cash — they treat it like gold," Professor Chovanec said. "They're stockpiling empty units. This is going on in cities of virtually every size." ... Property development here is so hot that last year, housing sales in Ordos reached $2.4 billion, up from $100 million in 2004, according to government statistics. ... "This is a city of the future," Li Hong, a government official, said during a recent tour of Kangbashi. But the future has not yet arrived, despite Mr. Li's best efforts to persuade a visitor otherwise. ... Only a few minutes earlier, Mr. Li escorted a reporter through an empty 500,000-square-foot convention center and a 12-story office tower that had dark hallways, locked doors and just a few scattered souls. – New York Times
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