You may not know, Hangzhou is among the richest cities in China with its property price the second highest among all China cities, only after Shanghai. Zhejiang Province, whose capital is Hangzhou, is a main production base for garments, textiles and shoes. The wealth is created mainly from exports of items like garments and shoes. Wenzhou, Ningbo and other cities around Hangzhou are where you can find many manufactuing factories and cheap labor force which works day and night to generate wealth for the new rich.
The wealth generated will then be spent in Hangzhou, where higher-end housing projects are underway on a large scale and luxury shops and restaurants are many.
The picture here features Hangzhou’s emerging prime business area – Yellow Dragon and the high-rise building is World Trade Centre. The banners and flags hanging in front of the center promote an up-scale housing project. This is typical. Everywhere in the city is promotion and show rooms of housing properties.
This one shows a residential property in Yellow Dragon. I lived there for a short period of time. The property is a good place to live in with reliable security system in place, good management and state-0f-art infrastructure. This, coupled with its prime location, means that its rent is not cheap. For a one-room apartment, the rent goes up to 3,000-4000 Yuan. A 4-room furnished apartment costs about 8,000-10,000 Yuan. Given that the monthly salary of the local residents is about 1,000-2,500 yuan, the place is no doubt not for the poor.
Having this in mind, you will understand these two photos.
Take the upper left photo first. See the up-scale residential property mentioned above? It is at the background in the photo. And see the blue shed in the front? That is the housing quarter for construcion workers who were working on an up-scale office high-rise just next to the up-scae residential property. The photo at the upper right is a close-up of the construciton workers’ housing quarters – the blue shacks.
I recalled passing by the shacks and a stale smell wafting into my senses. It was summer time. The shacks are rows of small rooms with six people crammed into one, along with bunk beds and their luggage. Workers had to bare their upper bodies and wearing shorts in the sweltering heat and humi weather. Sweat and body smell mingled with the hot air, exhuming suffocating stink. Just a little further away, lies the luxury residential housing with all modern conveniences an comforts. The worlds of the rich and poor is glaringly close, yet so painfully different.