Shenzhen skyscraper closes as officials try to figure out cause of shaking

The owner of SEG Plaza has told all tenants and merchants to stay out of the 72-storey tower. PHOTO: AFP

SHENZHEN, GUANGDONG (BLOOMBERG) - A skyscraper in Shenzhen has been closed for safety checks as reports of unexplained wobbling feed concern about the stability of one of the southern Chinese technology hub's tallest buildings.

The owner of SEG Plaza has told all tenants and merchants to stay out of the 72-storey tower from Friday (May 21), the official Xinhua News Agency reported.

The measure is intended to ensure that inspection work can be conducted "smoothly without any external disturbances", Xinhua said, citing a document sent out by Shenzhen Electronics Group.

Shares of Shenzhen SEG, whose controlling shareholder is SEG, fell 2.9 per cent on Friday, taking the drop this week to 13 per cent, the most since August last year.

SEG Plaza is one of the tallest buildings in Shenzhen, a city that transformed itself from a rural backwater four decades ago into a metropolis of more than 12 million people.

The first reports of shaking came on Tuesday, when videos appeared to show the structure wobbling and people fleeing. The Shenzhen Emergency Management Bureau said earlier that no earthquake had hit the city.

The wobbling prompted the local government to investigate and a warning from the United States consulate in Guangzhou urging Americans to avoid SEG Plaza and nearby areas.

The Shenzhen government said late on Thursday on its official WeChat account that the main structure was safe. The specific cause of the shaking was still under investigation, it said.

A call by a Bloomberg reporter to SEG on Friday went unanswered. SEG has not provided any public updates on the investigation since it said in a statement on Tuesday that no signs of cracking on the ground or damaged curtain walls were detected.

Chinese Internet users urged a thorough inquiry, with some pointing to the collapse of the Sampoong Department Store in South Korea in 1995, a disaster that killed more than 500 people.

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