Local Govts Use Innovation as Excuse for GDP Pump

The Chinese government's call to the nation to build an innovation-driven economy from the top down has sparked a rush by local governments to construct new buildings in the name of supporting creativity.

...Most incubators have occupancy rates of no more than 40 percent, iiMedia says.

The result: like steel mills, theme parks and housing before them, the country now faces a glut of innovation centers as another top-down policy backfires to leave white-elephant projects and a further buildup of debt.

...The small town of Shacheng in Huailai county in northern Hebei province answered Beijing's call for innovation by building two 25-storey adjoining towers - one for office space and the other as an innovation center.

However, the innovation center, offering desks and a period of free rent and utilities to potential startups, is empty. The floors are littered with rubbish and dust.

...Residents said they hoped their economic fortunes would improve when a high-speed rail link with Beijing, which will cut travel time to the capital down to half an hour, is completed in 2019.
Lots more at the link.

The irony of it all is the best way for a city to become an innovation center is to do the exact opposite and let the real estate market collapse. Make homes and property dirt cheap so young people can afford to move in. Instead, the government is driving up the cost of living for young people and creating huge malinvestment in the process.

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