Bigger is Definitely Better: The Building of Superlatives in China

Bigger is Definitely Better: The Building of Superlatives in China
Aug 23, 2014 By Seve Findlater , eChinacities.com

China is no stranger to large scale building projects. From building the Great Wall of China, the longest wall in the world, to the Grand Canal, the longest canal in the world – China has always worked on a grand scale. With over three decades of envious economic growth fuelling the construction of an increasing number of showpiece projects, China is still flexing its muscles and building big. No longer fazed by the futuristic skyscrapers in Shanghai’s Pudong or the monuments to commercialism in the form of shopping centers, China has entered the era of superlatives. Just as Dubai built the Burj Khalifa, the current tallest building in the world, and the UK built the Shard, the tallest building in Europe; China is keen to show off its new economic, political and cultural might through the building of superlatives.

Highest airport in the world

Built over 4,400 meters above sea level, the 1.58 billion Yuan ($258 million) Daocheng Yading airport in Tibet has set a new record for the elevation of an airport. It beats previous record holder Qamdo Bangda Airport in Tibet by around 80 meters. Flights between Daocheng Yading and Sichuan’s capital, Chengdu (the airport’s first route), will take just over an hour as opposed to the two days it used to take by bus. Beginning in October, the airport will offer flights to Chongqing, and during 2014 flights to Shanghai, Guangzhou and Xi’an are expected to be rolled out.

Daocheng Yading Airport is the sixth airport in China’s Himalayan region. It is hoped that this new airport will encourage greater domestic tourism to the region, with government aiming for 15 million tourists by 2015. The airport will hopefully help increase tourism to Yading Nature Reserve, renamed “Shangri-La” over a decade ago as a way of cashing in on the reference to the legendary Himalayan paradise. Possible political motives for building the airport aside, the world’s highest airport is a feather in China’s cap.

Tallest building in the world

Current record holder, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, is in danger of losing its title by ten meters to China’s “Sky City” being built in Changsha. The capital of Hunan, known for its lucrative and popular TV industry, has sky high aspirations to put itself on the global radar. It will cost around nine billion RMB ($1.46 billion) to build, which means each square meter of floor space is coming in at $1,500. That’s $3,000 cheaper than the Burj Khalifa.

Changsha based Broad Sustainable Group spent 390 million RMB ($63 million) purchasing the land needed for the 202-story “Sky City”. Originally slated to be built in a record breaking four months using steel and concrete parts produced nearby, the plan has since faltered. The company claimed that by using 100 percent prefabricated parts; “Sky City” would see five new stories built each day.

Sadly, a speedy construction has yet to be witnessed; when ground broke on July 30, Beijing officials called for a halt in the project. Many believe burgeoning rivalries between developers and Chinese leaders have delayed construction, with some critics saying the company is unfit to take on such a mammoth project. To date, Broad Group has only built two buildings, both with less than 30 floors. Just as HKND Group’s ability to build the Nicaraguan Canal was called into question, it seems a growing number of inexperienced Chinese companies are aiming too high. Perhaps Barj Khalifa will hold its title for a while yet.

Bigger is Definitely Better: The Building of Superlatives in China
Photo: gochengdoo.com

Largest building in the world

The New Century Global Center in Chengdu took three years to complete and comes in at 500 meters long, 400 meters wide and 100 meters high. With floor space totaling 1.7 million square meters, Sichuan’s capital is home to the largest building in the world. Situated at the center of Chengdu’s Tianfu district, it is so large that it could contain three Pentagons or 20 Sydney Opera Houses and dwarfs the neighboring 140,000 square meter Chengdu Contemporary Art Centre (CCAC) designed by renowned Iraqi-British architect Zaha Hadid.

The New Century Global Center plays host to office space, cinemas, an artificial sun that shines 24 hours a day, 400,000 square meters of boutiques and stores, two 1,000 room five-star hotels, an ice skating rink, a Mediterranean village, and even an artificial beach. The city may be 1000 km from the ocean, but the 400 meters of indoor coastline, make Chengdu’s 14 million residents feel not so landlocked.

Most costly film studio in the world

If governing the largest population in the world wasn’t enough, China can claim another title – the most expensive film studio. The Qingdao Oriental Movie Metropolis is scheduled to open in 2017 in Qingdao, a quiet seaside city of three million people. The brainchild of Wang Jianlin, China’s richest man and chairman of the Dalian Wanda Group that acquired US AMC Theatres in 2012, the film studio will cover over two square miles and cost 50 billion RMB ($8.7 billion) to build. This mammoth studio will include 20 sound stages, a studio for underwater filming, seven resort hotels and even a hospital. It is so significant that Leonardo DiCaprio, Nicole Kidman, John Travolta, Zhang Ziyi, Jet Li and even Catherine Zeta Jones were among the celebrities at the launch on September 22.

Despite the country’s strict quota on the number of foreign movies screened (although recently increased) and the censorship its domestic films are subject to, China has grand plans for its film industry. Keen to cash in on cultural products to increase China’s soft power around the world, the film industry has become one of the government’s new drives. Wang Jianlin is so confident in the country’s potential that he believes China will claim the US’s crown as having the largest cinema audience by 2018.

Fastest supercomputer in the world

Film studios and skyscrapers aside, China does more than just construct buildings on a grand scale. Situated in south China’s National Supercomputing Center in Guangzhou, Tianhe-2 is the fastest supercomputer in the world, pushing US Titan very much into second place, which operates at almost half the speed of Tianhe-2.. Tianhe-2 marks progress in China; unlike its predecessors, most of the parts, bar the main processor, were developed in the country. Designed and developed by Inspur and the National University of Defense Technology, this is the second time a Chinese supercomputer has become the fastest in the world - November 2010 saw Tianhe-1A claim the top spot. However, the US still has the most supercomputers (252 out of the top 500) and five of the top ten fastest supercomputers in the world are in America.

China may be economically slowing down, but it is clear that China has extended the saying ‘bigger is better’ to ‘bigger, longer, faster, and taller is better’. How apt.

China’s desire to have the tallest, the fastest, the most expensive, the largest or the longest sees no end in sight.

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Keywords: superlatives in China Large scale building projects building projects in China

24 Comments

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1

Nessquick
comment|50040|103576

some links to photos ? :-))

Aug 25, 2014 11:41 Report Abuse

2

Nessquick
comment|50044|103576

not bad, :) thx

Aug 25, 2014 15:53 Report Abuse

3

tomgee
comment|40506|257852

I don't think eChinacities is pushing the party line. Like the Americans and Europeans, Chinese tend to like 大气 the 2 characters mean big air literally. In context it means big presence. Nothing wrong with having the world's biggest whatever. Americans used to be so proud of Empire State Building, Sears Tower, now they do not talk about it. Because these buildings are 'has beens'. Nothing wrong about that too. The English, French, and Spanish were great nations with lots of wealth and territories, now we consider that era to put it simply, as the era imperial assholes claiming what does not belong to them and devastating cultures and resources like locusts...like those aliens in the movie 4th of July. But that's okay to because they are not know-it-all imperialistic assholes anymore. But Traveler sounds like the fox in that sour grape fable; just has bad things to say about everything. And then Guest2368048, I agree that some people from here have disgusting habits but calling people low-life even without knowing them makes me want to say, who died and made you such an expert on knowing people. I feel sorry for you both.

Oct 10, 2013 20:41 Report Abuse

4

guest2368048
comment|40527|269001

Learn to read, geezzzz. From what you write, you don't even know what "big air" really is, let alone where the term originates. To give you a hint, start with the cultural differences between Shanghainese and people in other parts of China. Comparing China to USA which are miles apart in terms of cultural heritages further reflects your ignorance.

Oct 11, 2013 09:35 Report Abuse

5

Guest519736
comment|40559|57748

Yeah maybe in your dreams!

Oct 12, 2013 09:15 Report Abuse

6

tomgee
comment|40623|257852

I don't think eChinacities is pushing the party line. Like the Americans and Europeans, Chinese tend to like 大气 the 2 characters mean big air literally. In context it means big presence. Nothing wrong with having the world's biggest whatever. Americans used to be so proud of Empire State Building, Sears Tower, now they do not talk about it. Because these buildings are 'has beens'. Nothing wrong about that too. The English, French, and Spanish were great nations with lots of wealth and territories, now we consider that era to put it simply, as the era imperial assholes claiming what does not belong to them and devastating cultures and resources like locusts...like those aliens in the movie 4th of July. But that's okay to because they are not know-it-all imperialistic assholes anymore. But Traveler sounds like the fox in that sour grape fable; just has bad things to say about everything. And then Guest2368048, I agree that some people from here have disgusting habits but calling people low-life even without knowing them makes me want to say, who died and made you such an expert on knowing people. I feel sorry for you both.

Oct 10, 2013 20:41 Report Abuse

7

guest2368048
comment|40629|269001

Learn to read, geezzzz. From what you write, you don't even know what "big air" really is, let alone where the term originates. To give you a hint, start with the cultural differences between Shanghainese and people in other parts of China. Comparing China to USA which are miles apart in terms of cultural heritages further reflects your ignorance.

Oct 11, 2013 09:35 Report Abuse

8

Guest519736
comment|40636|57748

Yeah maybe in your dreams!

Oct 12, 2013 09:15 Report Abuse

9

seansarto
comment|40489|58486

Also the oldest people in the country seem to be the only ones working the hardest jobs (i.e construction. landscaping, etc)

Oct 10, 2013 11:42 Report Abuse

10

tomgee
comment|40512|257852

True, I do feel sorry for them. I stand to become one of them when I grow old I think.

Oct 10, 2013 21:00 Report Abuse

11

seansarto
comment|40621|58486

Also the oldest people in the country seem to be the only ones working the hardest jobs (i.e construction. landscaping, etc)

Oct 10, 2013 11:42 Report Abuse

12

tomgee
comment|40625|257852

True, I do feel sorry for them. I stand to become one of them when I grow old I think.

Oct 10, 2013 21:00 Report Abuse

13

Guest2368048
comment|40468|263116

What's the point of having all these things when their users are among the biggest group of unhappy people on Earth, who as a group is increasingly being viewed with disgust and disdain everywhere they go because of their primitive, selfish, and violent behaviors? Having 'face' globally? Who are they trying to fool but themselves? A low-life who lives in the penthouse of the tallest building in the world remains a low-life.

Oct 09, 2013 17:22 Report Abuse

14

tomgee
comment|40511|257852

Who are you trying to fool?

Oct 10, 2013 20:58 Report Abuse

15

Guest2368048
comment|40526|263116

They really messed you up, geezzz!

Oct 11, 2013 09:31 Report Abuse

16

Guest519736
comment|40557|57748

Then what are you doing wasting your time trolling this site? Just go away and spend your energy and time marvelling at the "superiority" of your country!

Oct 12, 2013 09:13 Report Abuse

17

Guest2368048
comment|40618|263116

What's the point of having all these things when their users are among the biggest group of unhappy people on Earth, who as a group is increasingly being viewed with disgust and disdain everywhere they go because of their primitive, selfish, and violent behaviors? Having 'face' globally? Who are they trying to fool but themselves? A low-life who lives in the penthouse of the tallest building in the world remains a low-life.

Oct 09, 2013 17:22 Report Abuse

18

tomgee
comment|40624|257852

Who are you trying to fool?

Oct 10, 2013 20:58 Report Abuse

19

Guest2368048
comment|40628|263116

They really messed you up, geezzz!

Oct 11, 2013 09:31 Report Abuse

20

coineineagh
comment|41689|112751

Chinese are not violent. And their image internationally is just fine; it's when you actually visit the place that the veneer of mysteryland starts to erode. Chinese are proud nationalists, and they're hardly the only ones in the world. These buildings are infantile phallic symbols to overcompensate for their hidden deficiencies. Now they can clam to be the tallest, highest, longest, biggest, etcetc. Who cares how the government and affiliated super-rich waste their ill-gotten gains? If you're looking for a fitting derogatory name for them, try "impotent 'possum" - it's the misheard version of "important person" with a heavy Asian accent.

Nov 30, 2013 14:04 Report Abuse

21

tomgee
comment|40513|257852

What do you mean at expense of reality? Excuse me, whose economy is crumbling or is it whose economy is not crumbling? Where do you get the figure for organ harvesting? You must be in this business to know the exact figure for this. It's not in practice but it is legal to have different parties. Border disputes involve more than one side. I guess you're anti-capital punishment. What's your definition of poverty? I think it's time you got off your proverbial high horse and shut up because most of the things you say do not seem to be based on facts.

Oct 10, 2013 21:08 Report Abuse

22

Guest519736
comment|40620|57748

You're such a hypocritical, delusional troll Traveler. No-one cares what you have to say. Conspiracy theorists always see what they're looking for when they only process information from one angle.

Oct 10, 2013 10:01 Report Abuse

23

tomgee
comment|40626|257852

What do you mean at expense of reality? Excuse me, whose economy is crumbling or is it whose economy is not crumbling? Where do you get the figure for organ harvesting? You must be in this business to know the exact figure for this. It's not in practice but it is legal to have different parties. Border disputes involve more than one side. I guess you're anti-capital punishment. What's your definition of poverty? I think it's time you got off your proverbial high horse and shut up because most of the things you say do not seem to be based on facts.

Oct 10, 2013 21:08 Report Abuse

24

Nessquick
comment|40639|103576

It's comming worse here on ecities. harmonization, loading errors, posting errors ...

Oct 15, 2013 14:19 Report Abuse