Planet China

A destructive company

For the past three years Guangdong Hongda Blasting has been one of the best performing state-run firms. Its share price has more than doubled since it listed in Shenzhen in 2012. In Mandarin hongda means “grand” and true to its name, the company’s primary business is blasting – i.e. blowing things up, often older buildings or anything that stands in the way of Chinese planners’ blueprints.

One stunning explosion last week has come to serve as a perfect corporate video for Hongda, with a 27-storey government building in Xi’an reduced to rubble in a mere 16 seconds. According to the China Daily, the 118-metre structure was the highest building to be demolished in the country. Tellingly, it hadn’t been occupied since its completion 16 years ago and the local government said it was so badly maintained that it was no longer viable for future use – hence the demolition. CCTV said 1.4 tonnes of explosives were employed and the demolition went perfectly. But most observers weren’t too impressed by the empty building’s history. “This is bad city planning and a waste of resources,” a columnist wrote in the Shaanxi Daily.

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