As the economic success story of the 21st century so far, China continues to surprise the world in many ways.
With a housing boom continuing, China’s construction industry now leads the world in terms of project size and also in imaginative and bold new buildings.
Although some analysts are voicing concerns about a bubble that could be about to burst, designers are taking full advantage of the current economic conditions to bring some incredible projects to fruition.
Recent projects which have captured the global imagination include Pangu Plaza, which was used during the 2008 Beijing Olympics and has been named by Chinese architects Archcy as one of the ugliest buildings in China.
Last year, the title of the ugliest building in China went to The Beijing Tianzi Hotel. It is a striking building with a towering structure that is fronted by three giant men. These represent prosperity, happiness and career achievement in a traditional Chinese setting.
However, eye-catching designs are not the complete order of the day, as for many Chinese people in the central cities the dream is to own their own house, which is creating a continued demand and fuelling the majority of the construction boom.
Business Insider has declared the country’s construction programme to be “the largest wave of urbanisation in human history” and the result has seen house prices climb in 68 out of the 70 cities covered by the National Bureau Statistics in March 2013.
Lending has also increased, with a near 13% leap in January 2013 according to Forbes. "Pressure from risks posed by property loans is still rising. These potential risks cannot be neglected," said Wang Zhaoxing, a vice-chairman of the China Banking Regulatory Commission, speaking to China Daily.
New measures are being introduced to try and cool down the market, with Beijing banning single personal households from buying multiple homes and introducing a 20% capital gains tax on property transactions.
If you are looking for the cheapest way to send money to China, think carefully about how you will be send money there. Foreign currency exchange rates quoted by banks are almost always worse than the exchange rates available through specialist currency dealers.