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Overbuilding has led to ghost towns in China with towering rows of luxury apartments sitting completely empty, especially in smaller cities in China’s hinterlands. However, the real estate companies who now must sell these empty towns believe that filling their remote buildings with foreign faces, even for a day, suggests that the area is “international.” This is the buzzword in provincial areas that often translates into “buy.”

1. What was the most interesting part of this story in your opinion?
2. Do you think that this marketing campaign will work? Discuss.
3. Explain why property prices in China continue to decline.
4. Would this be a good time to invest in China? Discuss the pros and cons.


Borenstein, D. (2015) Rent-a-Foreigner in China. The New York Times, April 28 (Retrievable online at