High-flyers: China is on top of the world for skyscraper construction

Shanghai 2018This article is brought to you thanks to the strategic cooperation of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum.

Author: Adam Jezard, Formative Content

China seems determined to reach the stars by building ever-taller skyscrapers. In 2017 it saw the construction of 144 high-rises of more than 200 metres (660 feet) in height, including 15 described as “supertall” structures that tower above 300m (980 ft), according to the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat.

The city of Shenzhen is a particular tall-building hotspot, with CNN’s architectural journalist Christopher DeWolf writing in July 2017 that 11 of 128 tall towers built in the past year had been constructed within its environs. This was more than were built in the US, and twice the number in any other Chinese city.

The reason for the city’s attractiveness is due to its designation in the 1980s as a special economic zone, in which companies are subject to less regulation. The need for office space and accommodation for businesses and workers trying to make the most of its competitive advantages has powered the city’s vertical growth.

However, the Chinese construction sector overall has been an enticing draw for non-domestic lenders, attracting around $4 billion in inward investment, with Taiwan, France and the US being among the biggest bettors on the sector, according to fDi Markets, a Financial Times company that monitors financial speculation in global markets.

In 2016, Shenzhen topped the list of Chinese cities with both the fastest-rising property prices and number of inhabitants, having enjoyed a population increase of more than 6000% between 1985 and 2015.

High-rise, high finance

But, while China may be leading the field, it is not the only emerging and developing economy to be fixated on stretching its towers as high as it can.

According to a 2015 report by Global Construction, Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia, is home to more than 160 towers of more than 160m (525 ft), while the Burj Khalifa in Dubai tops 828m (2717 ft). Meanwhile, the Jeddah Tower in Saudi Arabia has the ambition of being the first building in the world to be a kilometre high when it is completed in 2020 – and so deprive the Burj of its crown as the world’s highest building.

It is perhaps no accident that high-rise buildings have often been associated with high finance. The first skyscrapers appeared in the late 19th century, with the Jenney’s Home Insurance Building in Chicago, completed in 1885, often cited as the first to meet the definition: it was a steel-framed building of more than 10 storeys.

Building in Chicago, completed in 1885, often cited as the first to meet the definition: it was a steel-framed building of more than 10 storeys.

Image: Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat

The financial and commercial centre of New York soon followed in Chicago’s wake, with the Chrysler Building and the Empire State Building, completed in the late 1920s and early 1930s, providing pioneering examples of how cities aspiring to international greatness could use the size of their constructions to demonstrate their commercial virility.

But the world order is changing, and Asian and Middle East nations are now vying with older, established economies to be the future leaders in finance and technology-based industries.

Fawlty Towers?

According to the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat: “The distribution of the world’s 100 tallest buildings [completed in the previous year] broadly reflects that of the wider set of 200 metre-plus buildings worldwide. Asia leads with 54, followed by the Middle East with 26, North America with 15, and Europe with four.”

However, it is notable that the European four were constructed in the emerging economy of Turkey.

So does the emergence of ever-taller skyscrapers tell us anything about which countries and cities will be successful – or can the continual rise of buildings in metres and feet be used to predict their economies’ downfall?

In 1999, property analyst Andrew Lawrence developed what he called the Skyscraper Index: Fawlty Towers, that argued the construction of record-breakingly tall skyscrapers could be used to predict coming financial crises. The British author C. Northcote Parkinson had also observed that it was mainly failed or failing organizations that had good-looking, well-planned buildings.

Image: Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat

While more recently researchers have rejected Lawrence’s claims, they say there may be some correlation between increasing gross domestic product and skyscraper height, and that taller buildings may be being completed at or near the height of business cycles.

However, with economists asking if markets around the globe are overvalued, and experts particularly worried whether China’s economy is overinflated with debt, speculators may be looking at the world’s fastest-rising buildings and wondering if the value of the tall structures they have invested in could have a long way to tumble.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Featured Stings

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

CEOs in these countries are more likely to go with their gut

EU’s Mogherini visits Turkey “to step up engagement” and highlight interests

Parliament backs a modernised EU electoral law

EU-US resume trade negotiations under the spell of NSA surveillance

Syria: Civilians caught in crossfire, UN refugee chief urges Jordan to open its border

“China will strive to enhance the performance of economic growth”, President Xi highlights from the World Economic Forum 2017 in Davos

MARKUP initiative to boost market access to Europe for East African SMEs

TTIP 9th Round marked by American disappointment: Will some optimism save this trade agreement?

Cultural diversity can drive economies. Here are lessons from India and South Asia

A Sting Exclusive: “Climate change and youth inaction: oblivion or nonchalance?”, AIESEC wonders from Brussels

The EU Commission implicates major banks in cartel cases, threatens with devastating fines

Biggest London City Banks ready to move core European operations to Frankfurt or Dublin?

Eurozone at risk of home-made deflation and recession

‘Path to peace’ on Korean Peninsula only possible through diplomacy and full denuclearization: US tells Security Council

Our present and future tax payments usurped by banks

Facebook-Cambridge Analytica: MEPs demand action to protect citizens’ privacy

Banks must take bold action to fight climate change. This is how they can do it

EU and India re-open talks over strategic partnership while prepare for a Free Trade Agreement

Somalia: UN urges steps to ensure future elections not ‘marred’ by rights abuses seen in recent polls

3 natural mysteries that could be explained by quantum physics

UN rights chief denounces Burundi for ‘belligerent and defamatory’ attack on inquiry team

Job automation risks vary widely across different regions within countries

Youth and children in Europe set the new perspectives for the decades to come

WEF Davos 2016 LIVE: “If we do not do properly the Paris agreement, then all 16 remaining goals will be undermined”, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon cautions from Davos

Nuclear non-proliferation treaty an ‘essential pillar’ of international peace, says UN chief

The G7 should take the lead on ocean targets for 2020

Court of Auditors: EU spending infested with errors well above the materiality threshold of 2%

“Only through energy policy we can trigger competitiveness”. The Sting live from #EBS2015: Energy Union – When will it happen?

The success story of a Chinese investment in the Greek port of Piraeus

Faith can overcome religious nationalism. Here’s how

A day in the life of a refugee: the role of nations and citizens of the world

Young people are not a nameless, faceless mass. So why do we treat them as such?

SPB TV @ MWC14: The TV of the Future

“None of our member states has the dimension to compete with China and the US, not even Germany!”, Head of EUREKA Pedro Nunes on another Sting Exclusive

The creative technology and its advancements

Finland must focus on integrating migrant women and their children to boost their contribution to the economy and society

G20 LIVE: “ISIL is the face of evil; our goal is to degrade and ultimately destroy this barbaric terrorist organisation”, US President Barack Obama cries out from Antalya Turkey

EU citizens disenchanted with Economic and Monetary Union over rising poverty and high unemployment

Hazy ‘breakthrough’ saves PM May, leaves Ireland in limbo: Brexit

India-UN fund gets 22 development projects off the ground in first year

More than one billion people do not have access to electricity. What will it take to get them connected?

The European Internet is not neutral and neither is the Commissioner

The impossible end of the war in Syria

New rules for audiovisual media services approved by Parliament

Facebook has built an AI-based tool that fixes the social network when it crashes

Merkel had it her way with the refugees & immigrants but can Greece and Turkey deliver?

MWC 2016 LIVE: T-Mobile US reveals 5G trial plans

Air quality: Commission takes action to protect citizens from air pollution

Digital distrust: We’re losing faith in technology to solve the world’s problems

What lies ahead for the Korean Peninsula?

Chauvinism and xenophobia will lead to global assertiveness and more wars

VW emissions scandal: While U.S. car owners are vindicated, Europe still unable to change its laws and protect its consumers

Can Greece’s devastating economy deal with the migration crisis?

UN Human Rights Council resolution on youth and human rights: a step forward for youth rights

A very good morning in European markets

The EU Commission lets money market funds continue the unholy game of banks

How wealthy people transmit this advantage to their children and grand children

UN chief welcomes agreement by rival leaders in South Sudan, as a step towards ‘inclusive and implementable’ peace

Ahead of State of the Union the European Youth Forum highlights lack of action on youth employment

What are the real targets of EU’s efforts to fight tax evasion?

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s