Asia Economy

Take a Stroll Through the Ghost Cities of China

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Stroll Through the Ghost Cities of China

Residential apartment buildings stand in the new district of Kangbashi in Ordos, Inner Mongolia, China.
Nelson Ching | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Hedge fund manager Jim Chanos has been warning investors for three years about a real estate crisis in China, and he told CNBC that the property bubble there is getting even bigger.

(Read More: China's 'Ghost Cities' Warn of Property Bubble: Chanos)

"You can't miss it," he said in a "Squawk Box" interview Thursday, referring to the so-called "ghost cities" of China.

They look like any other, but with one difference: No people. And in many cases, they feature miles and miles of empty apartments and office buildings.

This perpetual sprawl is needed to help fuel the $8 trillion Chinese economy, Chanos said, estimating that gross domestic product there derives half of its growth from construction.

(Read More: Why China's Property Market Is Getting Scary)

"Avoid anything having to do with the Chinese property market—steel, cement, iron ore," he advised, adding that he had been shorting those sort of plays.

By CNBC's Matthew J. Belvedere
Posted 8 March 2013

Follow Matt on Twitter @Matt_SquawkCNBC

Near Shanghai

Housing development near Shanghai.
Source: Kynikos

Building continues on a housing development near Shanghai.

Empty Residential Apartment Buildings

Residential apartment buildings stand in the new district of Kangbashi in Ordos, Inner Mongolia, China.
Nelson Ching | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Residential apartment buildings stand in the new district of Kangbashi.

Huaxi Village

New housing development in Huaxi, China.
Source: Kynikos

A new housing development in Huaxi.

The 'Dubai of China'

The city which is commonly referred to as a "Ghost Town" due to it's lack of people, is being built to house 1.5 million inhabitants and has been dubbed as the "Dubai of China" by locals.
Mark Ralston | AFP | Getty Images

Kangbashi is being built to house hundreds of thousands of residents and has been dubbed as the "Dubai of China" by locals.

Urban Center in Kangbashi

The Ordos National Theater, left, and Ordos Culture and Art Center stand in the new district of Kangbashi in Ordos, Inner Mongolia, China, on Saturday, April 30, 2011. Designed for 300,000 people, Kangbashi, the new urban center of Ordos prefecture, may have only 28,000 residents.
Nelson Ching | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Kangbashi's Ordos National Theater, left, and Ordos Culture and Art Center stand in the new district. Kangbashi may have only 28,000 residents.

Kangbashi Housing Complex

A man walks through a new housing complex in the Kangbashi section of Ordos, Inner Mongolia, China.
Doug Kanter | Bloomberg | Getty Images

A man walks through a new housing complex in the Kangbashi section of Ordos.

Empty Apartment Buildings

Residential apartment buildings stand in the new district of Kangbashi in Ordos, Inner Mongolia, China.
Nelson Ching | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Residential apartment buildings stand on an empty street.

City Building in Kangbeshi

The city has grown rich over the past decade on the back of a coal mining boom that has transformed it from a sandstorm-afflicted backwater into one of the wealthiest places in China. The boom triggered a frenzy of building in the city, but the local government has struggled to fill the vast tower blocks that sprung up.

Apartment Developments

Empty apartment developments stand in the city of Ordos, Inner Mongolia.
Mark Ralston | AFP | Getty Images

Empty apartment developments stand in the city of Ordos.