The 450m Zifeng Tower in Nanjing, built by Greenland, was completed in 2010. (Photo/Xinhua)
Scyscrapers are one embodiment of China's rapid economic development over the past few decades, to the point where no city in the country wants to be without its landmark buildings.
Wu Chengtao, editor of Motiancity.com — a Chinese-language website dedicated to skyscrapers in the country — reports that according to US standards which define skyscrapers as buildings 152 meters or higher, there are over 200 skyscrapers under construction in China, equivalent to the total number built in the United States over the past 100 years, and an estimated 800 skyscrapers will be raised in China within five years.
Even in Fangcheng in Guangxi, a remote harbor city with less than 1 million population in southwestern China, there are plans to build an Asian international financial center 528 meters high, even taller than the Shanghai World Financial Center, currently China's tallest building now.
Few skyscrapers in other countries are like those in China, whose exteriors are often illuminated with LED lighting at night.
Industry insiders say that after reaching a certain height, skyscrapers entail higher costs as extra stories are added. A 300-meter skyscraper costs 3.5 billion yuan (US$553.7 million) to build, with 2.5 billion yuan (US$395.5 million) of extra construction costs for a 400-meter skyscraper and 3 billion (US$475 million) more to add another 100 meters after that.
Recovering the construction costs is a protracted process. Despite its special status and global advertising campaign, it will have taken 10 years for Taipei 101 to turn profitable.
Shou Bonian, administrative president of property developer Greentown China, says skyscraper construction is a game exclusively reserved for major developers due to the long construction period and huge funding requirements. Even these players have to rely on benefits from the allocation of adjacent plots of land rather than the skyscraper project itself.
Greenland Group is one developer that specializes in skyscraper projects, with projects in 21 cities throughout China, including 11 buildings higher than 300 meters. There are only 13 buildings in the US of a similar height. With the exception of one independent skyscraper situated in downtown Nanjing, all of Greenland's other skyscrapers are part of large-scale urban development complexes. A realty research institution indicates Greenland relies on the development of adjacent land to offset the high construction cost of skyscrapers.
Greenland recently broke ground on two skyscraper projects. One is the Chengdu Greenland Center, located in the general cultural and innovative industrial zone of the Sichuan capital, and the other is Yinchuan Greenland Center, which is part of the China-Arabia economic and trade cooperative zone in Ningxia in the country's northwest.