China's construction industry defies standard and traditional definitions. Since the 1990's China's construction frenzy is reshaping the country entirely. Most noticeable are the high rise buildings in the country's capital Beijing and large east coast cities like Shanghai, Shen Zhen and Guangzhou. Other east coast cities less well known among a foreign audience are Hangzhou and Fuzhou are experiencing equally impressive transformation. But also 2nd ties cities like Xiamen (population 1.3 million) are swept up in the modernization process of China.
But the construction activities encompass much more than high profile office and condominium towers in China's most famous cities. It includes road- and railway infrastructure, factories, power stations, sewer systems and waste water treatment facilities, airports and harbours.
In the 1990's and first decade of the 21st century it was mainly China's eastern coast area that benefitted most from the build-up of completely new infrastructures but at the start of the 2nd decade economic growth is pushing westward and the massive efforts in developing the country's infrastructure are following.
Huge inland cities such as Chongqing (China's largest urban aglomeration with 31.4 million people) are ambitious in their efforts to attract foreign investment previously directed to China's east coast and Beijing. In 2009 HP choose the city as the location of its new laptop manufacturing plant. Together with local partnes Foxconn Technology Group HP will invest €2.2 billion in the new factory but the city of Chongqing will invest much more in infrastructural development in order to accommodate HP.
The airport will get an extended 2nd runway (to 3,600m) and cargo handling facilities are upgraded in order to be able to handle increased volume from 600 tonnes per day to over 1,000 tonnes per day. New roads and new educational facilities are being built. When ready the new HP factory is expected to ship out annually €22 billion worth of products. The city administrators realize that by attracting HP en Foxconn they have also secured the presence of an entire supply chain industry, the importance and impact to the city which will surpass that of HP's new manufacturing hub. Investments in new infrastructures will give another boost to China's construction industry. Other inland cities such as Sichuan's capital Chengdu are also aiming to attract new (foreign) investments by upgrading its infrastructural and educational facilities.
China's construction industry had an estimate value of €360 billion at the start of the 2010's and is expected to grow close to 10% annually. China is the world's largest consumer of steel and concrete. It's demand for construction machinery reached €35 billion in 2010. Any material required for construction e.g. insulation, light switches, valves, roofing, nuts and bolts, glue, power cables etc. will remain in high demand until China's development drive runs out of steam.