Shenzhen's Skyscraper Boom Shows No Signs of Slowing

By Jesse Pottinger, July 25, 2017

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Shenzhen's growth can only be described as astounding. It grew and transformed into a booming metropolis in under 40 years, and is now considered a tech and finance giant.

The relatively young city ranks ninth in the world for number of skyscrapers (buildings over 200 meters) with 49 total, and the Ping An Finance Center – at 599 meters – is the fourth tallest building on the planet.

With 48 additional skyscrapers currently under construction, as reported by CNN, growth in the coastal city shows no sign of slowing down.

Over the course of 2016, Shenzhen erected more skyscrapers than all of the United States and Australia combined.

The United States built a total of seven skyscrapers last year and Australia built two, while in Shenzhen alone, eleven skyscrapers were added to the city skyline. Among them: the Shenzhen CFC Changfu Center, the 92nd tallest building in the world, and Riverfront Times Square, ranking 134th worldwide.

Ping-An-Financial-Centre.jpg

From the beginning, Shenzhen seemed destined to reach momentous heights. When former leader Deng Xiaoping declared the city a special economic zone in 1980, he presented foreign investors with a previously non-existent opportunity in the Middle Kingdom, sparking the rapid growth that continues in Shenzhen today.

“In Shenzhen, (skyscrapers are) really linked to the image of the city,” said Juan Du, an architecture professor at the University of Hong Kong, in an interview with CNN.

“The term ‘Shenzhen speed’ was coined from the (time of) the construction of the city’s earliest skyscrapers. When Deng Xiaoping made his first visit to Shenzhen, he was really excited by the speed at which tall buildings were built.”

In addition to its privilege as a special economic zone that has elevated the city to the status of 'China’s Silicon Valley,' the Shenzhen boom can also be attributed to its proximity to neighboring mega-city Hong Kong.

Major Chinese cities like Beijing and Shanghai face complications from overbuilding, and office vacancies are predicted to continue rising. The Shanghai Tower, for example, remains half empty three years after its completion in 2014.

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Since its completion three years ago, only 60 percent of the office space in the spectacular skyscraper has been leased out, and only one-third of those tenants actually moved in

But Shenzhen’s thriving economy, with the top GDP per capita of all China’s major cities, seems well-equipped for continued growth. Land prices are among the highest on the mainland, and according to research head David Ji of Knight Frank, a property consultancy, the demand remains high.

“Shenzhen has a lot of demand for grade A office space, unlike some other mainland cities that just go for height to compete with each other,” he told CNN.

While skyrocketing property prices can be detrimental – rent takes up the majority of local tenants' income, a recent study showed – at least Shenzhen won't have to worry about becoming a ghost town anytime soon.

READ MORE: Shenzhen to Add 5 New Metro Lines by 2022

[Images via Kohn Pedersen via CNN, That's]

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