This is Wuyi Shan town in Fujian Province, located very near to tourist attraction Wuyi Shan. It’s a bustling town that resembles a sleepy town in Thailand.
The old bridge in the town is an “authentic” historical landmark built during the Qing Dynasty. However, I observe some obvious signs of reconstruction. From the bridge, the town looks even more slum-like. Observe the “buying culture” at the market. Mr Shi noted labels pasted on locked doors, indicating that these houses have been “acquired”. Residents have posted all kinds of disputes over compensation and distribution. The amount given for a house could be 2 million yuan, but each stakeholder’s share could be open to dispute. 2 million when split among a few stakeholders, is probably not enough for each of them to buy a house individually. 翟哦那个国人没有什么信仰，唯一的信仰就是金钱。
It is obvious that the town is marked for redevelopment. Mr Shi (and I) predict that it will end up as another forest of 烂尾楼.
To understand land development in China, one must never lose sight of idioms like 面子工程,龙头蛇尾 and of course, 烂尾楼. Overbuilding is a gross understatement where the purchasing power of 1.4 billion people is often grossly overestimated. I know of Singaporeans who have not only been bitten once but twice.
In the 1990s, they’ve placed deposits for residential projects in first tier cities which ended up as 烂尾楼. At that time, they swore that they would never buy another property in China. When they hear rumours of their friends of relatives making up to 500% profits from property in China in recent years, they jumped right in, thinking that this time, it’s going to be different. Little do they realise that China’s economic miracle is balancing on the apex of a pyramid of debt.