Tuesday 9.30pm SBS ONE
Wednesday 2.00pm SBS ONE (repeat)

China's Ghost Cities

Vast new cities of apartments and shops are being built across China at a rate of ten a year, but they remain almost completely uninhabited ghost towns.

It’s all part of the government’s efforts to keep the economy booming, and there are many people who would love to move in, but it’s simply too expensive for most.

Video journalist Adrian Brown wanders through malls of vacant shops, and roads lined with empty apartment buildings… 64 million apartments are said to be empty across the country and one of the few shop owners says he once didn’t sell anything for four or five days.

So are the efforts to boost the economy going to end up having the opposite effect and creating a financial crisis for China?

WATCH - Click to see his report.

PHOTO GALLERY - Look at some satellite and street-level images from the Chinese cities, showing the scale of the construction and the empty streets. Thanks to Gillem Tulloch at Forensic Asia for the information.

GOOGLE MAP LINKS - Follow the links to explore the ghost cities for yourself.


UPDATE (SEPTEMBER 2013) - Adrian returned to China two and a half years later to see what had happened to the empty cities and whether any more had been built. Watch his latest story.


VIRTUAL CHINESE COMMUNITY - SBS now has an online community for Mandarin and Cantonese speakers - click to find out more about this story on its website.


On air: 20th March 2011

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