Yuh oh. Making news today: China’s Premier Wen Jiabao has warned that the country’s economy is under pressure. Then went one step further and said it faces problems that could be long-lived.
The BBC reports that his announcement comes amid worries of a sharp slowdown in China’s economy, the world’s second-largest:
“Its gross domestic product grew at an annual rate of 7.6% during the April-to-June period.
While that may be healthy compared to many developed Western economies, it was the slowest pace of expansion for China in three years.
Data released earlier this month showed a sharp decline in export and import growth during July, indicating that both external and internal demand were slowing.
The economic conditions in the eurozone and the US, two of China’s biggest markets, continue to remain weak, adding to fears that China’s growth may slow further in the near term.”
Don’t believe Premier Wen? Check out this totally crazy piece, also from the BBC, about China’s ghost cities. As growth slows, China’s huge investment in infrastructure is looking ever harder to sustain, leaving a string of ambitious projects – towns, shopping malls and even a theme park – empty and forlorn.
Chenggong, for example:
“Designed as an overspill point for nearby Kunming, a city of nearly six-and-a-half million, Chenggong began to take shape in 2003.
High-rise apartment blocks have mushroomed but today it is still largely deserted after failed attempts by the authorities to attract new residents.
Matteo Damiani, an Italian journalist who worked for seven years in Kunming, has visited Chenggong several times, photographing empty tower blocks that loom over gigantic plazas, peopled only by enormous works of art.
He found a small community of students, workers and security guards but nobody else.
‘The suburbs and even the city centre are empty,” he says. “You can find a big stadium, shopping malls and hundreds of buildings finished but abandoned.’
There is even an area for luxury villas that is totally abandoned, he adds.
It is said to be one of the biggest ghost cities in Asia.”
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