As growth in Europe and the United States seems to be grinding to a halt, China may also be facing an economic slowdown and consequently, a decrease in construction projects.
In recent years, we have seen a lot of "throw-up" development that revealed China's insatiable desire to emulate architecture of the West, such as Thamestown, which is a copycat slice of England outside Shanghai. It seems that now they're construction sector is also being hit with a slow market as residential values have dropped by 15% in Beijing and Shanghai since the Olympics. One reason for this is the fact that money supply for developers has tightened in the past few months leaving commercial and residential projects to languish.
Callum MacBean, managing director of Gensler's Shanghai office confirmed in a company Newsletter that many of the firm's projects have been put on hold with many foreign investors suddenly very cautious preferring to venture to India and Vietnam instead.
U.K based firms report that this has been caused by the Chinese government itself who have made it more difficult for smaller scale Architecture and engineering firms to secure projects, by demanding astronomical insurance deposits. Also, the Chinese government has decided to limit the number of residential and commercial landmark projects and emphasize more on infrastructure, education and health care and have also created larger land parcels thereby making them increasingly more difficult for smaller developers to purchase.
I don't know what may have caused this state-driven shift in the last few months. Maybe the government felt that there was overbuilding in the housing sector to the detriment of infrastructure and health care but who can explain why a communist government does what it does. Still, for all those seeking investment and building projects in China, this trend seems to be predominantly restricted to Beijing and Shanghai; at least for now. There is still plenty of work to be had in the cities of Chengdu and Chongqing.
Image obtained from the Architectsjournal.com