China's home-made slow-motion crisis

Last week, China announced that its economic growth fell to 6.6 per cent, its lowest in 28 years. The Straits Times looks at what this means for Asia and the rest of the world.

A construction site (above) in Nantong, Jiangsu province, on Jan 1, and a luxury car showroom in Beijing on Jan 22. The government announced last week that China's economic growth last year fell to 6.6 per cent, its lowest level since 1990.
A construction site (above) in Nantong, Jiangsu province, on Jan 1, and a luxury car showroom in Beijing on Jan 22. The government announced last week that China's economic growth last year fell to 6.6 per cent, its lowest level since 1990.PHOTO: REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
A construction site (above) in Nantong, Jiangsu province, on Jan 1, and a luxury car showroom in Beijing on Jan 22. The government announced last week that China's economic growth last year fell to 6.6 per cent, its lowest level since 1990.
A construction site in Nantong, Jiangsu province, on Jan 1, and a luxury car showroom in Beijing on Jan 22. The government announced last week that China's economic growth last year fell to 6.6 per cent, its lowest level since 1990.PHOTO: REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

The ubiquitous developments that were such conspicuous testament to China's enviable growth over the last couple of decades are now telling another story, of a growing malaise.

Millions of apartments stand empty in eerie ghost cities, while theme parks in the middle of nowhere languish, deserted. Railroads, airports and superhighways are barely used even as a glut of steel, aluminium, glass and cement accumulates.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 28, 2019, with the headline 'China's slow-motion crisis'. Subscribe