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The Rise of China

Seeing Is Believing

Anyone who doubts that China is rising fast as the new power in Asia need only take the ride I took last fall through Shanghai, from the Hongqiao International Airport to the Bund area along the Huangpu riverfront.  It was just after dark, and this mammoth city was lit up in an awesome display the likes of which I had not seen even in Beijing.  Shanghai has a skyline that puts New York and Chicago to shame, but then, Shanghai has a larger population than New York and Chicago combined.  Mile after mile of new high-rise office buildings, many boasting the names of the world’s major corporations, stun the viewer with their proclamation of wealth and power.  Unlike the boxy concrete-and-steel designs in Tokyo, the Shanghai skyline is marked by some of the most beautiful urban architecture I have ever seen.

And that was before I saw Pudong, the new economic area on the other side of the river.  I took a boat tour to get a better look at this new economic-development zone.  It is already crammed with office towers and factories.  One impressive complex is the new Krupp steel plant.  Another is the Jinmao Tower, the third-tallest building in the world.  It is an impressive 88-story office complex, but even more noteworthy is the forest of other towers around it.  In the Shanghai-Pudong area, over 300 high-rise buildings of 40 stories or more have been completed in the last five years,...

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