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China to have 800 skyscrapers by 2016

Last updated on: June 9, 2011 09:47 IST

Image: The Shanghai World Financial Centre in Pudong District of Shanghai.
Photographs: Reuters K J M Varma in Beijing

China is expected to have 800 skyscrapers, four times more than the United States by 2016, but experts in Beijing called for a rethink of the policy citing environmental damage and maintenance costs.

Five of world's 10 tallest buildings are in China, the Shanghai-based Skyscrapers Magazine said.

Hong Kong had the most skyscrapers of any Chinese city with 58, followed by Shanghai with 51 and Shenzhen with 46, the magazine said in a report prepared after a year-long study of tall buildings in China.

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China to have 800 skyscrapers by 2016

Image: Labourers work at a construction site in Shanghai.
Photographs: Reuters

The report defined the skyscrapers as buildings of more than 500 feet (152.4 metres) in height.

China started construction on more than 200 skyscrapers this year, a figure equal to the total number of skyscrapers in the US, according to the report.

However, some experts say skyscraper construction, initially seen as a way of saving land, has degenerated into an image project for the country.

"China does indeed need tall buildings in the process of urbanisation as the country has a large population.

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China to have 800 skyscrapers by 2016

Image: The Pearl Tower at the new business district in Shanghai.
Photographs: Reuters

"Skyscrapers could to a degree help save the usage of land," Wang Jianmao, an economics professor at the China-Europe International Business School, told the state-run Global Times.

"However, given high costs of building skyscrapers and maintaining them as well as environmental problems they cause, government should be cautious in approving skyscraper projects," he said.

The 421-metre-tall Jin Mao Tower, Shanghai's second tallest building, cost 20,000 yuan ($3,088) per square metre to build.

According to the Shanghai-based news portal Eastday, the building costs more than a million yuan per day to maintain now that it is in use.

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China to have 800 skyscrapers by 2016

Image: Window cleaners wash windows of the Zifeng Tower in Nanjing, Jiangsu province.
Photographs: Reuters

Even cities with fewer than a million residents have undertaken skyscraper projects, according to the report.

For example, Fangchenggang, a city in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, is planning to build a 528-metre skyscraper, higher than the Shanghai World Financial Centre, which is currently the third tallest building in the world.

"If space in the skyscraper can't be sold or leased, skyscraper construction could lead to bad debt because investors borrow money to finance the project," Yin Kunhua, deputy director at the Shanghai Real Estate Economy Society said.

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