28 October 2014

Graphics: China Ghost Towns

It's no secret many cities in China are haunted by too much building and not enough people. One Beijing newspaper devised an index to illustrate the problem is no phantom.

A housing market boom and local governments' enthusiasm for economy-boosting projects have resulted in an oversupply of homes in many cities around the country. Academic research, reports by financial institutions and news articles often refer to cities as "ghost towns" because apartments are vacant and streets are deserted. 

On October 13, China Investment Network, a business newspaper in Beijing, released a "ghost town index" to determine which cities were, well, the most ghostly. The newspaper devised its index using a government standard that says cities should have 10,000 people per square kilometer. 
The editors at China Investment Network determined that if a city's ratio of people to area was 0.5 – that is, it was half full – then it is a ghost town. To take the example a step further, if a city had a ratio of .10, then it had one-tenth the population the government thought it deserved. Based on this approach, at least 50 Chinese cities fit the description of "ghost town."

The large city of Weihai, in the eastern province of Shandong, and the tourist destination of Sanya, in the south's Hainan Province, were among China's emptiest.