It’s been over a decade since we first blogged (yes, back when we called it blogging) about the European clone towns of China, including the city on the outskirts of Shanghai built around a fake Eiffel Tower with a replica Champs Elysées and rows of Haussmann-inspired Parisian townhouses. The gated community of Tianducheng, built in 2007 by real estate develepors Zhejiang Guangsha Co. Ltd, spent the first few years of its existence struggling to attract residents, earning its label as a ghost town and part of a much larger property bubble that was waiting to burst.
Here’s what we knew at the time in 2013:
The last known population of Tianducheng is around 2,000, yet the town can comfortably house over 100,000 people. Most people can’t afford to live in the property available in Tianducheng and for now, many of the apartments with Parisian-style wrought iron balconies are occupied by groups of migrant labourers working on the continued construction of the community and the French-themed village park next door. This ambitious project is an example of the massive over supply and over valuation of property across China. So why build? Because it promotes GDP growth– the government’s number one priority.
Today, Tianducheng is home to around 30,000 people, but still very little information about the town has been made available. So a team of Youtubers, including a French native decided to go and check it out themselves. What they found may surprise you…