China’s premier wants to retrofit three million older apartment buildings all over the country, but he still needs political buy-in at the top.
GUANGZHOU, China — When China faced previous economic slowdowns, it favored pharaonic, multibillion-dollar construction projects to quickly pump money into the economy. A bullet train network that now connects 700 cities. Ultramodern expressways longer than America’s interstate highways. And 81 of the world’s 100 highest bridges.
Now, a top Chinese official has a new idea to rev up growth during the coronavirus pandemic: elevators.
China’s premier, Li Keqiang, and his allies in the government want to retrofit as many as three million older, walk-up apartment buildings, projects that usually cost less than $100,000.
The downsized ambitions reflect the evolution of China, from a youthful but impoverished country to a graying but increasingly middle-class one.
Although China still likes grandiose infrastructure projects, they no longer have the same economic effect. High-speed rail lines and superhighways already link every large city, so new ones connect smaller and smaller communities in China’s mountainous interior — at exorbitant cost. And the country’s debt has spiraled so high that it has become a serious drag on growth.
While elevators may pack a smaller economic punch, they provide a social benefit for a rapidly aging population. A wealthier Chinese society is also demanding more from its leaders.
We are having trouble retrieving the article content.
Thank you for your patience while we verify access. If you are in Reader mode please exit and log into your Times account, or subscribe for all of The Times.
Thank you for your patience while we verify access.
Already a subscriber? Log in.
Want all of The Times? Subscribe.