How Many Chinese Cities Are Empty? Exploring China’s Ghost Town Phenomenon

China's ghost town phenomenon has captured the attention of the world, leaving many intrigued by the sheer magnitude of these eerie, deserted urban spaces. The question of how many Chinese cities are empty lingers in the minds of explorers, curious travelers, and researchers alike. As stories of vast, meticulously planned cities devoid of occupants continue to surface, the true extent of this phenomenon remains enigmatic. These silent landscapes, filled with towering skyscrapers, deserted shopping malls, and empty residential complexes, shed light on the intricate complexities of China's rapid urbanization and economic ambitions. Delving into the heart of this enigma, uncovering the number of vacant cities in China, reveals a fascinating tale that intertwines economic growth, speculation, government policies, and the aspirations of a nation grappling with the challenges and contradictions of progress.

How Many Apartments Are Empty in China?

How many apartments are empty in China? This question unveils a startling reality – an estimated one-fifth of homes in the country, equivalent to at least 65 million units, remain vacant. To put this into perspective, the sheer magnitude of empty real estate is sufficient to provide housing for the entire population of France. These vast numbers shed light on Chinas unique phenomenon of ghost cities, which serve as a grim testimony to the nations heavy reliance on the real estate sector as a catalyst for economic growth.

These vacant cities, once envisioned as bustling urban centers, now stand eerily deserted, with few signs of life. Their grandeur and scale are awe-inspiring, featuring skyscrapers, shopping malls, and impeccably designed landscapes, but they lack the vital ingredient that breathes life into a community: people. These ghost towns embody Chinas ambitious approach to urbanization, an endeavor that aimed to boost it’s economy through infrastructure and property development. Unfortunately, the result has been an oversupply of housing that far exceeds demand, leaving entire cities devoid of inhabitants.

The causes underlying this ghost city phenomenon are multifaceted. Chinas strict restrictions on property investment, coupled with a cultural preference for owning real estate, have fueled an unprecedented demand for housing. Developers, eager to capitalize on this hysteria, have embarked on rapid construction sprees, often funded by local governments. As a result, countless properties have emerged from the ground lacking buyers or tenants, contributing to the staggering number of empty dwellings.

Moreover, these ghost cities bring to the surface concerns about Chinas economic stability. Real estate has become a crucial driver of Chinas economy, accounting for a significant portion of it’s GDP growth. The reliance on this sector has created a fragile ecosystem, vulnerable to fluctuations and bubbles. Inflated housing prices, coupled with soaring debt levels and an oversupply of properties, threaten the stability of not only the real estate market but also the broader economy. The repercussions of this imbalance could have far-reaching consequences, both domestically and internationally.

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Located in Inner Mongolia, China, Ordos City, also known as Kangbashi, is a well-known ghost city. Sprawling across the Ordos Plateau of the Yellow River, this deserted metropolis is one of the twelve major subdivisions in the region. Despite it’s status as a prefecture-level city, Ordos remains predominantly rural and is often cited as a prime example of China’s urbanization challenges.

What Is the Huge Abandoned City in China?

One of the most prominent examples of an abandoned city in China is Ordos, also known as Kangbashi, located in Inner Mongolia. This ghost city gained notoriety for it’s extravagant development plans that outpaced it’s population growth. Designed to become a thriving metropolis for one million residents, Kangbashi now stands eerily empty and desolate.

The story of Ordos began in the early 2000s when the local government embarked on an ambitious mission to create a new urban center in the area. Vast sums of money were poured into constructing modern skyscrapers, grand boulevards, and lavish public buildings. However, despite the impressive infrastructure, the expected influx of residents never materialized.

Today, Kangbashi remains largely uninhabited, with an estimated occupancy rate of less than 30 percent. Many of the buildings stand vacant, their windows covered in dirt and their doors locked. The streets are eerily quiet, showcasing a hauntingly empty atmosphere.

The ghost city phenomenon in China extends beyond Ordos. Many other cities, such as Zhengzhou and Tianjin, have also experienced similar fates. These empty cities serve as a visible symbol of Chinas rapid urbanization and economic growth, driven by speculative investments and overambitious development plans.

Source: Inside China’s apocalyptic ‘ghost cities’ where 65million …


In conclusion, the existence and extent of China's ghost town phenomenon can’t be accurately quantified due to limited access to reliable data. However, it’s evident that a significant number of Chinese cities have been built with excessive capacity and are struggling to attract residents and businesses. Factors such as overinvestment, government-driven development strategies, and rapid urbanization have contributed to the creation of these empty cities. While some argue that ghost towns represent a potential economic bubble or unsustainable growth model, others view them as opportunities for future urban expansion. Nonetheless, the complex dynamics behind China's ghost town phenomenon require further investigation to gain a comprehensive understanding of it’s implications for the country's socio-economic development.

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