China to top US skyscraper volume in five years
Dragon to best the States in number of buildings over 152m by 2017
China will surpass the United States as the country with the most skyscrapers (towers over 152 metres in height) within five years, and double the US total total within ten years, said a report.
By 2017, China will have 802 such buildings on its mainland, compared with 539 in the US. In ten years from now, the number of skyscrapers on the Chinese mainland will reach 1,318, compared with just 563 in the US, Shanghai Daily cited MotianCity as saying in its "Supercity" report.
The US currently tops the world with 533 skyscrapers, compared with 470 in the Asian Republic, but there are 332 more projects under construction in China, and 516 more in the pipeline.
The US has only six skyscrapers under construction in the US at present, and another 24 in the planning stage.
Over the next ten years, China is set to erect 848 skyscrapers not only in major cities such as Shanghai and Beijing but also in second and third-tier cities such as Nanjing and Dongguan.
However, chief editor of MotianCity Wu Chengtao said that there is the threat that the growth could bubble, owing to the fact that skyscraper construction in China is not adequately backed up by a service industry.
In the US, on the other hand, the demand for skyscrapers is always fuelled by the service industry.
"In 2011, China's revenue generated by the service industry only accounted for 26.8% of that in the US, but the number of skyscrapers here in the country already accounted for 88% of the total there," said Wu.
However, John Llewellyn, former global chief economist at Lehman Brothers, said he didn't consider it a bubble because the real driving force behind the construction was rapid urbanization as well as huge market demand created by robust economic growth.
Independent business commentator Ye Tan thought there could be some bubbles in the country's current skyscraper construction boom, but that they would be mainly confined to tertiary cities with small populations.