Inside abandoned Chinese-made £1billion ghost city where hundreds of empty skyscrapers are left to rot in Malaysia

Inside abandoned Chinese-made £1billion ghost city where hundreds of empty skyscrapers are left to rot in Malaysia

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LUXURY skyscrapers in southern Malaysia developed by the Chinese were on the way to become “a dream paradise for all mankind”.

But that promise was never delivered and the multi-billion estate sits empty on the coast of the sea, surrounded by only nature.

Reuters

Forest City in southern Malaysia is just across the water from bustling Singapore[/caption]

AFP

The city built for 1million people only inhabits around 9,000 people[/caption]

AFP

Investors blew $100billion on the ambitious project but left it half-finished[/caption]

The Forest City looks like a lavish resort and is only a stone’s throw away from bustling and noisy Singapore.

At a first glance, it appears to be a regular metropolis with hundreds of high-rise buildings, villas and paved roads.

But upon closer inspection, visitors might notice how eerily silent the “ghost city” is with the only sound coming from birds‘ chirping.

You can’t hear drivers frustratingly honking at traffic jams – in fact, you can’t see cars at all.

There are no neighbour noise complaints as only a few hundred people live in the numerous skyscrapers.

The only signs of life can be found on a handful of flats that lit up at night and have their laundry hung on the balconies.

Most of the opulent apartments and villas are left to rot in the estate built by Country Garden – China’s largest property developer – under Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road Initiative.

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The ambitious project was being built in 2016 during China‘s real-estate boom.

The developers blew a staggering $100billion on the property in a bid to attract middle-class buyers who live abroad.

The idea was to construct an eco-friendly city including a water park, golf course, offices, bars, and restaurants.


The Chinese company planned for 1million people to live in Forest City, which would spread across thousands of acres of land.

The developers believed that investors would flock to the area next to Asia’s financial hub, Singapore, for great opportunities.

While a house in Singapore costs an eye-watering $4million on average, the typical condo in Forest City retails for a fraction of that and is just across the water.

Although 80 per cent of units have been sold, most of them stayed unoccupied after Malaysia‘s then-prime minister Mahathir Mohamad restricted visas for Chinese buyers.

Reuters

The city was supposed to boast waterpark, golf course, restaurants[/caption]

The model shows what the city would look like if completed
AFP

The Forest City Mall has a restaurant and a duty free but most shops are closed[/caption]

Only bottled are scattered around the beach without a soul in sight
A handful of units have their lights on at night when the city is immersed into darkness

After eight years, Forest City is now merely a deserted ghost town beside a river rife with crocodiles.

Only a few hundred people reside in the high-rise structures, and just 15% of the project has been completed.

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On top of that, Chinese government introduced strict laws which barred its citizens from spending more than $50,000 abroad.

The selling prices of the residential units were also much beyond the means of the average Malaysian, despite the Chinese developers’ claims that it was designed with the middle class in mind.

In the complex, the typical condo currently retails for about $1.14 million.

The largest city next to the development, Johor Bahru, has an average sale price of $141,000 for a similar property.

This means that a large portion of the grand project is empty, with just 9,000 people dispersed around the metropolis built to inhabit 1million.

Residents are a rare sight in Forest City where the majority of people you encounter are staff from the premises.

The city’s mall has a working restaurant, a shop and a duty-free store with the rest of the shops closed due to slow business.

Inside, the interiors of the unoccupied shops lay bare and construction materials are scattered around.

When the night falls, the city immerses into pitch darkness with no more than a dozen apartments having their lights on.

But cheap rent, around $800 a month for a brand-new unit, has duped some people into moving to the abandoned city.

The 30-year-old IT engineer, Nazmi Hanafiah, rented a one-bedroom flat overlooking the sea but soon regretted his decision.

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He told BBC: “To be honest, it’s creepy. I had high expectations for this place, but it was such a bad experience.

“There is nothing to do here.

“It’s lonely around here – it’s just you and your thoughts.”

Joanne Kaur and her husband live on the 28th storey of one of the tower blocks – and are the only ones on the whole floor.

She told BBC: “This place is eerie. Even during the day, when you step out of your front door, the corridor is dark.

“I feel sorry for people who actually invested and bought a place here.

“We are looking to move out as soon as possible.”

According to the BBC, some analysts criticise the decision of building such a huge project in a country where the economy and politics are unstable.

Travel lockdowns during the Covid-19 pandemic also hampered many overseas projects, including the Forest City.

But the Country Garden remains “optimistic” about the future of their brainchild despite struggling to repay its $190billion debt.

AFP

The Chinese developer is ‘optimistic’ that the project will be completed[/caption]

Rare signs of life can be seen on balconies where residents hang their laundry
Most shops have never been finished with their interior still bare

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