New Chinese export: Ghost towns!

OK, technically it’s FDI but still……

Here’s a great photo essay on a Chinese built ghost town in Angola.

People do you think a cock-up like this has anything to do with the language of business there being Portuguese? Or with Chinese FDI aimed at enabling the election pledges of local leaders? At least the Chinese are keeping up the old colonial tradition of resource extraction: the construction costs are being paid by Angola with oil!

Has China run out of places to built ghost towns domestically and thus must resort to foisting them on developing countries?

The essay claims that there is an operating school in the ghost town, but all the students are bussed in because no children actually live in the ghost town.  Why would they? Ghost towns are scary.


What we have here is a failure to communicate

Robin just posted an interesting map of who trades with who, showing that China was the #1 trade partner of a number of African countries. Now here’s me posting a map of “the language of business” across African countries.



You can clearly see the colonial legacies, but what’s interesting to me is imagining how business must be conducted in those nations.

For example, in Angola, the language of business is Portuguese, but the #1 trade partner is China. How does that work exactly? Interpreters? Portuguese  fluent Chinese traders? Chinese fluent Angolan importers? 

My best guesses are (A) No Angolan participation in the “trade” it’s Chinese firms all the way down, or (B) the language map is kind of BS and everyone speaks English when doing international trade.

Perhaps someone with actual knowledge of the Angolan import market could weigh in?