July 28, 2021

Stubborn optimism about China’s economy after a decade on the ground

PICTURE THE moment of confusion in a taxi in Guiyang, a city in south-western China. Your columnist had asked the driver to go to the new district. “The new new district or the old new district?” he asked. It was, it emerged, the old new district—a place that seven years ago, on an earlier visit to Guiyang, had looked like the sort of ghost town then dominating horror stories about China’s economy, full of giant empty buildings. This time, however, the problem was the exact opposite. What was meant to be a quick jaunt turned into a traffic-clogged headache, the taxi crawling along in a sea of red tail lights. The old new district had filled in, and then some.

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