China's Property: Bubble, Bubble, Toil and Trouble

NeLSON CHING / BLOOMBERG / GETTY IMAGES

Empty promises
Beijing's vacant commercial space is a disquieting sign

As he threads his taxicab every day through the epic traffic jams in and around Shanghai, jabbering on his cell phone and muttering under his breath, Yang Jinyu seems an unlikely real estate mogul. But when the government asked him to move out of his central Shanghai home so that the land it was on could be sold for redevelopment, he took the compensation payment and bought an apartment on Shanghai's outskirts. Eight years later, after cleverly parlaying that first asset, the cabbie owns three apartments in the city and has his eyes on something bigger: a lovely five-bedroom,...

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