I landed in Shanghai yesterday, as some of you know, I am going to spend a month here. It already feels like I've been here for a long time.
The city is huge, much more than I expected. There is EVERYTHING here.
I took the Maglev from the airport to the city center (Long Yang Lu station) – it takes about 45-50 minutes in the subway but 7 (!!) minutes in the Maglev. The Maglev travels at 431 KM/Hr! This is one of the scariest train rides I ever experienced – it was so fast I began to feel younger as I personally experienced the effects of the Special Theory of Relativity.
Soon after I got off the train I hooked up with Yaniv.
Even on my first day in Shanghai I noticed the effects of the real-estate bubble. Yaniv lives at the bustling heart of the city. Even though, one of the five buildings in Yaniv's complex, a huge building 60 stories high, is almost empty. And still, the rent does not decline – it turns out Chinese don't mind if their apartment stays in the market for months as long as they get the rent they wanna get on it. Not a very economic thought.
Yaniv promised to take me further away from the city center to witness the problem in its extreme, I promise to take my camera there and document it for you to see for your own eyes.
When I come to think of it, I think there is a chance that it may take a while for the bubble to burst or at least the actual bursting of the bubble may be slower than I initially thought because of the fact that Chinese people do not care if their apartment is empty. Eventually though, the laws of economics always prevail – as apartments depreciate, they consume money if they are not leased (and sometimes even when they are).
An amazing thing I learned today is that the Metro system was much smaller 4 years ago, but now it is the fastest growing Metro in the world. Before the great Expo (official) in Shanghai last year they built a massive, gigantic metro system beneath the city. See for yourself how many Metro lines opened in 2010 alone. This is amazing considering the fact that other countries build metro systems in 10-15 years. The Chinese did it in less than 4. This can show you how massive the Chinese investments in infrastructure are and why they are growing 11% a year.
More to come soon !
EDIT: Interesting, about 5 minutes after I posted the first revision of this post, my site was blocked in China. They are fast! (Or automatic, by word filtering / scanning). I am now connecting to my computer back home to access my site. I guess that if I'd write in hebrew they wouldn't have blocked it.