Deep in the heart of China are over 100 cities where no one lives.
China is undergoing one of its biggest rural-to-urban migration ever and the local governments provided incentives to builders to create cities to compensate the growing number of people flooding into the cities.
The country currently has 2 billion square meters of empty residential space — that’s enough to house over 100 million people.
However, it seems like the planners didn’t anticipate the slowing down of the economy nor the fact that people would not want to live in cities which are ill-equipped to support commerce. Workers who are kept in the cities to keep them maintained describe their life as monotonous and boring.
“Cities and districts built without demand or necessity resulted in what some Chinese scholars have termed, literally, ‘walls without markets,’” said William Hurst, political science professor at Northwestern University. “Or what we might translate as uncompleted or hollow cities.”
Now, builders have run out of money and construction has ground to a halt.
Despite this, the government is reluctant to rein in their spending and is encouraging banks to continue funding the infrastructures. The impending crisis has economists fearing for the worst.
“If China had been willing to give up that hyper growth, then it might have avoided the potential for a serious crash and a serious debt crisis. But it didn't and it won't,” said economist Anne Stevenson-Yang.