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

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Featured Stings

What next after more sanctions against Russia, will the Ukrainian civil war end?

Further reforms needed for a stronger and more integrated Europe

EUREKA @ European Business Summit 2014: Innovation across borders – mobilising national R&D funds for transnational innovation in Europe

What is the IMF telling Eurozone about fiscal and banking unification?

A day in the life of a refugee: We should be someone who helps

Parliament votes reform for better European Co2 market but critics want it sooner than later

How technology is driving a fourth wave of environmentalism

EU’s core members are eyeing larger parts of arms trade and of world map

A Trumpist squad shook Davos and the world

The Changing Scope of International Economic Relations – Chinese Leadership in the 21st Century

Innovations for Content Professionals at the DCX exhibition 2018 in Berlin, in association with The European Sting

Financial transactions tax gets go ahead

The Brits are not an exception and that’s why they voted to leave

A Sting Exclusive: EU Commissioner Mimica looks at how the private sector can better deliver for international development

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

Two major EU projects falter; the Schengen Agreement now freezes and Eurozone fails to resolve the Greek enigma

EU out to conquer African Union summit

Medschool 4.0: how to succeed in the smart revolution of healthcare

On Brexit: the outcome of UK elections next May to be based on false promises?

How can education empower youth to become tomorrow’s leaders

Commission and ECB prepare new financial mega-tool in support of SMEs

Innovation for a smarter world: ITU Telecom World 2018

Chart of the day: This is what violence does to a nation’s GDP

Is the advent of nationalism to destroy economic neo-liberalism?

EU-India summit: Will the EU manage to sign a free trade agreement with India before Britain?

Recognizing, protecting and empowering youth rights in Europe and the world

MWC 2016 LIVE: Industry looks to reduce mobile gender gap

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

Supermarket supply chains are driving poverty and inequality. We can do better

Theresa May’s global Britain against Philip Hammond’s Brexit fog

The eighth round of TTIP negotiations concludes in Brussels amid scepticism and new fears

The energy industry is changing. Are governments switched on?

A geared turbofan at Pratt & Whitney's production hub in West Palm Beach (copyright: Pratt & Whitney - a UTC Company- 2018; Source: Pratt & Whitney's website, media center)

The EU Commission approves UTC’s acquisition of Rockwell Collins under conditions

The MWC14 Sting Special Edition

European Commission and four online marketplaces sign a Product Safety Pledge to remove dangerous products

Why is Merkel’s Germany so liberal with the refugees? Did the last elections change that?

David Cameron’s formal letter/threat that officially opens pandora’s box for the UK

The EU bows to Turkey in view of the talks for a political settlement in Syria

Japan initiates WTO dispute complaint against Korean duties on steel

IMF’s Lagarde: Ukraine must fight corruption

Trade deals’ pure realism: it may take 10 years for a post-Brexit agreement

Gender Equality as a platform to improve Medicine

Why we are using these custom-built drones to collect whale snot

The new EU “fiscal compact” an intimidation for all people

Russia to cut gas supplies again: can the EU get back to growth without a solid energy market?

Air pollution could be responsible for 1 in 7 new cases of diabetes

ECB settles the bank resolution issue, makes banking union tangible

MWC 2016 LIVE: Qualcomm looks to pick up Hamilton’s winning ways

EUREKA @ European Business Summit 2014: A European patent system can help European businesses lead industrial research and innovation on a global scale

UN chief condemns attack targeting international forces in northern Mali

EU Migrant Crisis: Italian Coast Guard Headquarters and Italian Navy to give host national opening addresses at Border Security 2016 in Rome

Building an Inclusive ICT Innovation Ecosystem

JADE Spring Meeting 2016 highlights

EU Commission: a rise in wages and salaries may help create more jobs

China Unlimited: the dragon’s long and winding road

IMF: European banks do not perform their duty to real economy

Security Union: political agreement on strengthened Schengen Information System

FEATURE: Niger’s girls find sanctuary in fistula treatment centres

European Youth Capital 2018 : Cascais

Inflation down to 0.7%, unemployment up at 12.2%: Bad omens for Eurozone

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