In most places, the creation of new cities are dictated by speculation. Speculation is, to put it simply, taking educated guesses about what will happen in the future and acting on those guesses.
This is why people purchase land on the outskirts of big cities. They believe that, in a few decades, the city will grow and people will need that land for houses and businesses. If that guess turns out to be correct, the speculator can then sell back that land at a much higher price.
However, it seems this practice has led to bad results in China.
By order of the Chinese government, nearly ten new cities are being built every year. However, after their creation, these cities sit almost vacant, with only a few wealthy citizens moving to them. Designed to stimulate economic growth, these ghost cities are instead home to failing businesses and disappointed rich people.
Even the “Great Mall of China”, which has space for over 2000 shops, is over 99 percent vacant. It may be the largest mall in the world, but it is also one of the most pitiful.
But why, exactly, are these cities so vacant?
The answer seems to be in the pricing. Instead of providing low-cost housing, these new locations are filled with high-end apartments, something most Chinese citizens can’t afford. So, as much as families would like to move, they simply can’t afford to.
If China makes these new places more affordable and accessible, they may become true metropolises in the future. Until then, however, they remain ghost cities, filled with nothing but empty hopes and cold chills.