Chapter 1

Let 10,000 Projects Bloom

While our national government enjoys virtually unlimited credit, the initiators of urbanization projects, local governments, have little. Public faith in the economic success of governmental undertakings in the area of urban renewal and revitalization is not yet to the point that significant securities issues of pending or completed projects can be floated on capital markets.

Chen Yuan, governor of China Development Bank, on CDB Web site, 2005

Loudi is one of countless cities with millions of inhabitants that few outside of China have ever heard of. Its economic mainstay is a state-owned steel mill that lost 2 billion yuan (about $300 million) in 2010.1 (One dollar is around 6.38 yuan.) Of course, it’s booming. ...

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