Anytime someone mentions China, thoughts of booming commerce and tons of people come to mind. I picture bright lights with streets full of people. After all there are 1.3 billion people living there. That’s what makes this place even more extraordinary when you think about it. The place I’m speaking of is the city of Beihai, which can be found in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. Locals call it “The City Of The Dead”, and it is now an urban landscape that is completely deserted. The city was built to cater towards a rising class of wealthy people. There were hopes of these people investing in real estate, then buying up the properties. A lot of these properties cost upwards of three million Chinese Yuan, which is around $500,000.
A glimpse at some of the amazing buildings that were offered within Beihai. They were purchased by investors six years ago, but all of them remain completely vacant.
Even a city center was built to help residents be able to work and live where they were without having to leave the city.
A lot of the home owners are hoping that property prices increase so their investments pay off in the long run.
Because Chinese citizens cannot invest their money overseas, a lot of people have invested in real estate as a safety net for their wealth. This is not a common thing in China. A lot of places are built with skyscrapers, shopping malls, highways, and parks but there are no people living there. They are often just too far from the booming economic areas, making a commute almost impossible. Because of that, nobody has ever moved into these luxury neighborhoods.
Some of the people who have invested in these properties are workers who don’t make much money at all, upwards of $2 per day. These people also saved their money from up to three generations to make this giant purchase for these properties, but can’t afford the commute.
Because these properties have been sitting uninhabited for the last six years, they are starting to fall apart and will need maintenance eventually which will end up being costly. Some people believe these villas are vacant due to over-building. But others have said that this modernization of China is, “the greatest urbanization story the world has ever seen.” These same people believe that these now vacant areas will become thriving metropolitan areas.
This city is ready for people to move in, but as you can see from the streets, nobody is there.
The waterfront properties were the most expensive villas available. Some of these have been purchased, but the owners can’t afford to live there. This has inevitably placed them in a scary situation, just hoping that the investment pays off in the near future.
While this boom may eventually pay off for the investors, it has not been great for all Chinese citizens. The Chinese construction industry employs hundreds of thousands of workers, but at the same time, these construction sites have forced citizens off their land in order to make room for these abandoned cities. One local said, “It’s a madness – homes built to stand empty.”
Take a look into some of these abandoned towns in the video below:
It is hard to believe that places like this exist with over 1.3 billion people living in China. It is also heartbreaking to see that people have invested their entire life savings, along with the life savings of their families, to purchase a home without a guaranteed return. It would be great if the investment truly paid off, not only for China, but specifically the people who invested in these villas.