The Straits Times
Published on Dec 18, 2012

Stately pleasure dome rises in China's Chengdu


CHENGDU (AFP) - A thousand kilometres from the nearest coast a towering glass wave rolls over the plains of Sichuan, the roof of what Chinese officials say will be the world's largest standalone structure.

The 100m high "New Century Global Centre" is a symbol of the spread of China's boom: 500m long and 400m wide, with 1.7 million sq m of floor space, big enough to hold 20 Sydney Opera Houses according to local authorities.

By comparison the Pentagon in Washington - still one of the world's largest office buildings - is barely a third of the size with a mere 600,000 sq m of floor space.

The Global Centre is just a few kilometres from the US consulate where the police chief of Chongqing fled to seek asylum, triggering the fall of his patron Bo Xilai and exposing the biggest scandal to rock China's Communist Party for years.