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Après Nous, Le Déluge

September 9, 2011

I can perform all the economic analysis in the world, and it won’t convey the sheer apprehension I feel about China’s current situation anywhere near as well as the following pictures, found on ChinaSmack

The gold-encrusted hallways, marble foyers, and imposing granite frontage are not from Versailles, or the Vatican, or even Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas.  They are from the newly completed corporate headquarters of state-owned Harbin Pharmaceutical, in northeast China.  No word on exactly how much the literally palatial offices cost to construct, but the mind boggles.  One prominent journalist from Chinese state TV severely criticized the company for its garish use of funds, explicitly comparing it to the Palace of Versailles, but some netizens posting online defended the monument as a natural expression of China’s prosperity:

What happened…? This is very normal. What’s the big deal? This is what the healthy development of a business looks like. So Chinese state-owned enterprises aren’t allowed to do this? I support Harbin Pharmaceuticals… Hope there will be even more enterprises like Harbin Pharmaceuticals…

For the last several months, I’ve been just waiting for the moment when somebody rolls up a big wad of 100 Renminbi notes into a cigar, sticks it in their mouth, and lights up.  In the meantime, I’m going to have to settle for this as the next best thing. 

“Healthy development of a business”?  You decide (and for those who will be quick to note that America built Caesar’s Palace and all that other stuff, remember that those are entertainment venues that earn big profits, in large part due to their over-the-top opulence, not an overhead cost-center for running a business.)

Personally, it reminds me of the prophetic words attributed to Louis XV, a resident of the original Versailles:   “après nous, le déluge” — or to paraphrase, “when this is over, all hell’s gonna break loose.”

138 Comments leave one →
  1. gregorylent permalink
    September 10, 2011 12:06 am

    the crown plaza hotel in nanjing looks like that … and businessmen still spit on the carpet waiting for the elevator

    • Andrea permalink
      September 22, 2011 4:02 am

      gotta love that. le plus ça change…

  2. Nick permalink
    September 10, 2011 12:08 am

    l’etat, c’est moi !

    So that’s (one factor) why medicines are so expensive for ordinary folk in China.

    I guess, when poor folk get sick, the bosses at Harbin Pharma will just utter, “let them eat cake” !

  3. September 10, 2011 12:48 am

    Wow…..I thought the Bolshoi renovation was extravagant (though worth while from the stance of preserving culture) but that’s nothing compared to this.

  4. AWV Graham permalink
    September 10, 2011 1:07 am

    Thank God the Harbin building doesn’t look like all those other cookie cutter office buildings and office parks all over the world, so that you have no idea what country or culture a building is located in when you see a photograph. I say, bravo to Harbin! Has anyone seen the castles of England and France? Why not China?

    • George Wolff permalink
      September 11, 2011 1:54 am

      Does anyone seriously look at this and say, “Aha, now that’s Chinese?”
      Check out the Harbin website

  5. USIKPA permalink
    September 10, 2011 1:38 am

    Now, these are sure signs of an upcoming collapse

    • painter permalink
      September 13, 2011 7:52 am

      You are more right than you realize.

  6. September 10, 2011 2:39 am

    While this is more garish than elegant, at least they are trying. I do not understand the objection to using wealth to create beauty. If anything is harmless and sustainable as an indulgence, it is decorative art.

    What is wealth for, again? Is there some modern ethical compulsion to unrelentingly utilitarian brute-force design? Did you know that the philosphical roots of modern minimalism were communist?

    I do agree that China is making some bad decisions. Yet I don’t see this sort of thing as part of it, except for hoping that they do a better job of it in future.

    • George Wolff permalink
      September 11, 2011 1:51 am

      Disagree, Mr. Tobis.
      Severe minimalism came out of the Bauhaus movement in Germany last century and influenced most of the world except the CCCP.
      Anybody who has been to Russia will recognize the garish triumphalist buildings done in a style nicknamed “Stalin After the Plague.”

      • September 11, 2011 2:02 am

        Read Tom Wolfe’s “From Bauhaus to Our House”.

        I agree that China is being economically insane (in much the same way as everybody else if perhaps more so, but that’s another story).

        I just don’t agree that an attempt, however childish, to revive the decorative arts in corporate or public spaces is a bad idea. I feel pretty strongly that it isn’t.

      • George Wolff permalink
        September 11, 2011 2:18 am

        Thanks Michael, I’ll give it a read. And you might check this:
        As for your term “decorative”, we’ll just have to respectfully agree to disagree both esthetically and in terms of the burden on shareholders.

      • September 11, 2011 3:02 am

        I agree that it’s an aesthetic failure. I’m just claiming it’s an attempt, and that’s a good thing, regardless of other bizarre errors the Chinese are making. And I can already tell that we disagree about the role of the corporation in society; I do not think shareholders are the only legitimate stakeholders.

        That all said I am glad I stumbled across this site and will be following with interest.

    • David Wolf permalink
      September 11, 2011 6:49 pm

      Mr. Tobis, the problem here is not a matter of aesthetics. It is a matter of a nationally-owned enterprise spending what is essentially the people’s money (not that of private investors) on a capital expense that does nothing to raise the value of the enterprise, all while pumping acre-feet of toxic sludge into an aquifer on which tens of millions depend for drinking water. Garish is fine, but spend your money on environmental protection, R&D, and benefits for all employees before indulging in corporate ego-inflation.

      You may not be outraged, but I assure you the people of China – the company’s customers – are.

      • Marc Renders permalink
        September 13, 2011 6:26 am

        ‘spend your money on environmental protection, R&D, and benefits for all employees before indulging in corporate ego-inflation..’
        Give me a break Mr.Wolf. As if corporate America makes this a priority.

      • Giovanni permalink
        September 14, 2011 2:54 pm

        Who’s speaking about USA as a model ? As a matter of fact USA is considering Florida’s birds better than Bhopal’s children.

        There is just no hope to see USA improve itself on such issues, before its fall. the later would be the better, of course.
        China is still climbing, and they are learning.

        No offense.

  7. storge permalink
    September 10, 2011 4:45 am

    They sold contaminated water too…

  8. September 10, 2011 5:19 am

    Brings to mind the scene where Gordon Ghecko’s upwardly mobile sidekick moves into the new apartment after the decorators have stapled the gilt to the walls and ceiling. There is Chinese quality bricks and mortar work behind the surface glitter.

    This is a metaphor for most of the recently constructed infrastructure.

  9. George Wolff permalink
    September 10, 2011 6:32 am

    Stunning find, Professor.
    I notice it has been pulled down on China Smack I also notice that investors have lost 57 percent on their shares this year. This explains one reason why.
    P.S. Thanks also for your fine postings on Alpha.

  10. deetee permalink
    September 10, 2011 7:56 am

    Ah, professor, you are absolutely right,
    “when this is over, all hell’s gonna break loose.”

  11. Wayne Parker permalink
    September 10, 2011 8:02 am

    Actually, the quote from Louis XV is “Après moi, le dèluge”. But you’re point is well-taken.

  12. kailing permalink
    September 10, 2011 2:56 pm

    No problem. I bet you to go in 5 years to see the probably crappy situation of the building. They build things that afterwards they are unable to keep in shape, even evident ones -clean/repaired floors/walls, windows, stairs, elevators… imagine for the not so evident (safety equipment, plumbing, wiring…). In 15 years they will demolish it and build a new one again. Who said fear?

  13. Shijie Ren permalink
    September 10, 2011 4:42 pm

    Gasp! Speechless
    @gregorylent – why did you go off Twitter? Miss you there, you know

  14. September 10, 2011 9:02 pm

    Stunning, not the palatial opulence, but the defenders thereof. Perhaps, they be or want to be them that walk the beautiful golf courses of Beijing, swinging clubs amidst the splendor of green grass, contemplating whether they have the time to visit the car-wash establishment down the way.

  15. September 10, 2011 11:51 pm

    China is also building ghost cities that will remain uninhabited because the people can’t afford to live there. Total insanity. A housing bubble of epic proportions.

  16. john voling permalink
    September 11, 2011 9:06 am

    I can totally see crackheads squatting this place in a couple years, after it hits the fan and comes crashing back to earth.

  17. andrewp111 permalink
    September 11, 2011 10:38 am

    The hard limit on China’s growth is running out of energy supplies. Until then, no problem!!

  18. Dismanirie permalink
    September 11, 2011 12:55 pm

    What a monstrous carbuncle! Imagine the heating costs in a Manchurian winter…

    Oh, and Wayne, monarchs always call themselves “we” and “us”. Although there is a school of thought which suggests the comment was made by Mme Pompadour to Louis XV after the battle of Rossbach, and not by Louis himself.

  19. Frank White permalink
    September 11, 2011 1:31 pm

    I believe you misquoted Louis. What he said, I believe, is “Apres moi, les deluge” (translation for non-francophones: When I’m gone, the SHTF, bitchez)

  20. Mariam permalink
    September 12, 2011 1:34 am

    All the empires in history, before their fall, were constructing bigger and more overelaborated buildings… all of them…

  21. September 12, 2011 1:57 am

    China will be eating Earth out of food pretty soon as well as sucking up all the resources Earth can provide. “All is not gold that glitters.”

    • Jim permalink
      September 13, 2011 5:03 am

      Actually “All that glisters is not gold.”

      • Gloria permalink
        September 18, 2011 12:15 pm

        “All that glisters…” probably a typo and I love it…

      • February 8, 2012 3:14 pm

        Now that I revisit that post, I have no idea why the attempt at the quote. I really shouldn’t post when high.

    • Tim permalink
      September 13, 2011 7:39 am

      But in the meantime the US still holds first prize for energy glutton.

      • RWinks permalink
        September 13, 2011 10:00 pm

        The USA uses about 21% of the world’s oil (we are a net exporter of coal and gas) while producing 28% of the world’s GDP. Obama hasn’t managed to completely destroy us yet.

    • Tom Lawford permalink
      September 19, 2011 9:50 pm

      From Rudyard Kiplings “The Gods of The Copybook Headings”

      Then the Gods of the Market tumbled, and their smooth-tongued wizards withdrew
      And the hearts of the meanest were humbled and began to believe it was true
      That All is not Gold that Glitters, and Two and Two make Four
      And the Gods of the Copybook Headings limped up to explain it once more.

  22. Gan Lu permalink
    September 13, 2011 12:33 am

    I’ve yet to hear of anyone lighting up a cigar made of 100 RMB notes, but earlier this year some guy (coalmine owner, of course) took a sledge hammer to his Lamborghini after receiving what he felt to be poor service from the dealer. Surely the cigar guy can’t be too far behind.

  23. September 13, 2011 5:20 am

    Wow! Looks like Michelle-Marie Antointte Obama now has another place to rent our for her and all her cronies on the taxpayers’ dime.

    • George Wolff permalink
      September 13, 2011 6:33 am

      Professor, I hope you will delete political partisanship from an otherwise thoughtful board.

  24. September 13, 2011 5:31 am

    I didn’t know Donald Trump decorated any buildings outside of the United States.

  25. Rob permalink
    September 13, 2011 5:39 am

    All this represents is the immense wealth transfer currently taking place; the wealth is being transferred from the West to the East. The United States is the largest debtor nation in the history of the world; its Western European counterparts are just as broke without any recourse.

    At somepoint the Chinese will wise up and dump all of these U.S. Treasuries as they move from a model of export to a model of internal consumption. We are living in the decline of the West. In my view, this century belongs to the East especially China.

    • frank permalink
      September 13, 2011 9:22 am

      If your observation is true then it seems that they have learned nothing from watching the climb then decline of those that went before. Of course they wouldn’t be the first to be guilty of that.

    • September 23, 2011 5:45 am

      Nonsense. China buys US Treasuries as a necessary function of its trade policy. No treasuries = wage arbitrage collapse = most of China becomes re-unemployed in short order. No more “farms to factories” fictional GDP… You don’t turn a rural farmer into a neurosurgeon or electrical engineer overnight. What can you/they do? Same thing we did in the US…literally explode the country with low-skill construction and (in our case) mortgage broker jobs… At some point the whole country will be covered in concrete and rebar. Then what?
      What is China going to do for revenue as the “opulent” Westerners who developed the technology they routinely steal go into austerity mode and finally decide they don’t need to replace their TV every 9 months or own 57 pairs of jeans? Internal consumption?! Have you ever actually BEEN to China??

  26. September 13, 2011 5:47 am

    Do you people know that the kingom of heaven is at hand God is coming back but Sation is all ready here look around you people we better be ready become it is going to happy if you are ready are not I am waiting for Jesus not man because all these thing are nice do not get me wrong I like nice thing sometime but it can not save my soul. God Bless!

  27. Pete West permalink
    September 13, 2011 5:49 am

    Love it. Better than some horrid minimalist box. Bet the staff love working there. Probably made a few craftsmen rich as well.
    Yeah! Go for it China!

    • September 13, 2011 6:59 am

      I imagine the people that you call staff, are not allowed in the board room unless they are serving food or cleaning up afterward.

  28. September 13, 2011 6:12 am

    Without knowing anything about this, or even reading all of the comment’s … My first thought was, Someone sure found an Intelligent way to Invest (in gold), and probably Beat a lot of Taxes, Rules, and on and on !!! ” D “

  29. Mark permalink
    September 13, 2011 6:18 am

    The first picture look to the left wall is that a picture of the “Last Supper’?

    • September 13, 2011 7:01 am

      It looks as though they are investing in artwork too.

  30. September 13, 2011 6:36 am

    This is just another example of how little people on this planet have learned about what
    is really important. Poor fools! Now the stock market goes up because that’s what little
    neurotic minds were looking for today, something to give them an excuse (or so it would
    appear!) to go out and buy more stocks in this market climate? No wonder Hitler said the
    most wonderful thing for governments was that people don’t think! Prechter appears also
    to be accurate in describing market movements according to the Elliottwave Theory as
    as nothing more than rationlized emotional reactions!

    Chicago, Illinois

  31. Alfred Palmer permalink
    September 13, 2011 7:52 am

    Gee I wonder how the Chinese got all their money? The answer is at your local Wal-Mart.

  32. Martha permalink
    September 13, 2011 7:52 am

    I happen to love the floors !!

  33. Karen permalink
    September 13, 2011 8:56 am

    Ahhhh, it’s at once beautiful, and appallingly garish…I once read Pearl Buck’s iconic book, “The Good Earth.” Although the Boxer Rebellion was caused by resentment against, foreign imperialism and other causes, the basic tenants of that rebellion, and many which occured before, were the same-Those who oppress the poor will pay, and pay dearly, and the poor most of all.

  34. Fabian permalink
    September 13, 2011 9:00 am

    Money doesn’t buy taste.

  35. Bill S permalink
    September 13, 2011 9:24 am

    It’s a waste of the shareholders’ money.

  36. September 13, 2011 9:56 am

    All that glitters is not gold. A nice showcase but hardly anything to get extra excited about. I see such showcases all over Asia

  37. Kevin Padfield permalink
    September 13, 2011 10:47 am

    Man, if I ever needed another reason NOT TO INVEST in any China company, this is definitely it. What a total waste of money that should be better spent on workers wages, health and safety, upgrading of manufacturing equipment etc. The individuals that thought this up would be right at home in Washington D.C..

  38. Kim permalink
    September 13, 2011 10:58 am

    This is a manifestation of an old Chinese culture-” face boasting ” brought to the extreme, except this time, on the public’s expense.

  39. September 13, 2011 11:46 am

    Ego rules in China, whomever can flaunt their wealth, do it in the most lavish ways, sometimes in odd style from a western perspective.

    This article is only one example of how government spreads their wealth to the lower classes, construction and development is everywhere, in every imaginable form, art, infrastructure, energy, some projects make money and some boost ego.

    Do you think the subcontracts were given out to western countries?? No!!

    Chinese nationals are so pacific in their daily lives they cant be bothered by these government spending sprees, they are too busy trying to get a piece of the growth, in return being able to buy a Volkswagen or Buick and boosting their own ego.

    Another prespective:
    Less than 30 years ago China’s government officials and it’s people had a rough time, there were no Audi, BMW , smooth highways nor domestic air routes to run the country, many politicians rode the hard seat trains to Beijing and ate the lunch prepared in their concrete block house somewhere in the remote vastness of China.

  40. Hua Qiao permalink
    September 13, 2011 3:25 pm

    From Evan Osnos’ recent blog post:

    “In Japan, in 1986, the value of the nation’s real estate doubled in a single year—and doubled again the next year. Japan was the world’s largest creditor, holding thirty per cent of U.S. debt, and was home to the world’s ten largest banks, with a stock exchange bigger than Wall Street. A hundred square feet in downtown Tokyo was selling for a million dollars.

    Soon, the buying spree went global: first real estate, then banks and resorts and Hollywood studios. They picked up Pebble Beach, Rockefeller Center, and Columbia Pictures. “Japan Invades Hollywood,” was the cover of a Newsweek, with the Columbia Pictures statue draped in a kimono.

    Before long, things got weird: as Japan scholar John Nathan reminds us, the head of Japan’s Nomura Securities, the world’s largest brokerage at the time, floated the idea in 1989 of Japan arranging “joint ownership” of California with a combined Yen-Dollar currency. Tokyo tycoons sipped whiskey over ice cubes chipped from Antarctica; farmers in remote prefectures sold their rice fields and replaced their dental fillings with gold. People racked up three-million-dollar golf-club memberships.”
    (End Cite)

    Defying gravity is the thing that comes to mind.
    Do we think the Chinese are smarter than the Japanese that they can steer clear of the downdraft when all that overinvestment comes crashing down in the form of problem loans for the Banks? Reminds me of drunken sailors on shore leave.

    • peter m permalink
      September 13, 2011 5:58 pm

      If I look at things like this….it just makes me sad….poo chinese….

  41. Cheah permalink
    September 13, 2011 5:12 pm

    This is nothing.
    Wait until you see the residences of some corrupt politicians in Malaysia.

  42. dan mercurio permalink
    September 13, 2011 11:49 pm

    Humans will be humans…there is no such thing as communists…monopoly is the game in town…once you have it you can flaunt it. Better spend it on luxurious things than guns and bullets like some other nations…this halls looks like a fine dinning restaurant to me…perhaps they are. I hope they serve good rast duck.

  43. September 14, 2011 12:09 am

    This is a sample of what monies coming China’s last decade manufacturing and commercial boom can make. If the FED prints tons of dollars to keep the enormous and unsustainable public and private machine the US has become, then why China cannot do outrageous things? They’re actually in a more legitimate position to do so, considering the huge reserves of those ridiculous papers called fed notes they have. Not to mention they’re one of the largest creditors of the US (1st place the FED).
    I’d rather say they’d be stupid not to use all these unreal wealth in building super highways, hi-speed transportation systems, bridges you can hardly imagine and whatever they want before all those papers become useless. No wonder why they’re trying to buy all the freaking gold in the world.

  44. Morgana permalink
    September 14, 2011 3:15 am

    It doesn’t cost as much as you’d think to design like this in China. The marble is local and skilled artisans don’t earn much. It’s beautiful, and great Feng Shui which should contribute to company profits. And I’ve had medical treatment in China….I much prefer both the treatment and the cost to the US.

  45. danwaits permalink
    September 14, 2011 4:28 pm

    looks like some corporate offices in America

  46. September 14, 2011 5:37 pm

    When I was abducted by aliens the very first thing they asked me was, “Why is it that the things your species admires the most are supersonic flying death machines, narcissistic anorexic air-headed toxic celebrity personalities and signs of outrageous wealth confiscation, misappropriation and misuse?”

    I said “I know, I know….”

  47. September 14, 2011 6:02 pm

    I think you are right. It is first of all ugly, and, typically, being ugly it is also completely devoid of China’s own past.

    I am sorry and surprised to see that they imitate the worst of Europe.

  48. September 14, 2011 7:30 pm

    oh mon dieu!!!
    le luxe du deluge…

  49. September 14, 2011 7:38 pm

    Oh my! The Versailles Palace.. 😀
    what i’d love about it is the hall of mirror..
    such a historical place.. je l’aime tellement!
    félicitations pour freshly pressed 🙂

  50. csothbeg144 permalink
    September 14, 2011 8:44 pm

    Yes, this structure is rather garrish. But it is the same kind of building that is all over Europe and America. Buildings that are the expression of exploited labor and violated human rights; the healthy growth of business is always the deterioration of life.

    • fireandair permalink
      September 15, 2011 12:05 am

      You will NEVER find ANYTHING like this in the US. You probably haven’t ever even been here — you just believe whatever BS you’ve made up in your head. Compared to this sort of obscenity, the White House is a hovel by comparison — and after we kick its cyclical inhabitants out of it after a couple years of their bumbling jackassery, they’re on their own for housing. I prefer it that way.

      The only places in Europe and elsewhere where you will find this kind of revolting buildings are places that fell apart from revolution and recreated themselves WITHOUT things like this. Versailles, the Hermitage … remember how their inhabitants ended up? Go ahead, China. Fail to learn from Europe’s mistakes … the guillotines are patient, and they will be waiting for your robber barons, just like they waited for King Louis and the tsars.

      May the US NEVER be degraded by this sort of over-the-top inhumane garbage.

  51. September 14, 2011 8:49 pm

    nice 🙂

  52. September 14, 2011 8:51 pm

    Kind of reminds me of big car companies in the U.S. Their CEO’s getting paid millions in severance packages for leaving a company behind that they utterly ruined while we all float the bill. Corporations are shameless and greedy.

  53. Summer permalink
    September 14, 2011 9:16 pm

    It looks so pretty!! the Chinese are really talented!

  54. Michel Castro permalink
    September 14, 2011 9:30 pm


  55. September 14, 2011 9:31 pm

    Hurts my eyes the place is so elaborate.

  56. September 14, 2011 9:44 pm

    Yeah, this is consumerism at it’s most rampant. Of course, it could be worse (or better?) – they could’ve constructed the thing in the shape of a giant mecha modeled to rip off Gundam or Macross or something. They’ve already done the plagiarism, and it’s only a short time until they make even crazier megaconstructions.

  57. September 14, 2011 10:14 pm

    Uh…I think labor is pretty cheap in China. I agree the aesthetics of this place are gross, but one man’s kitsch is another man’s living room. Why don’t they extend the glorious tradition of Chinese decorative arts? Because they are philistines, as are many rich capitalists. Just because they don’t like post-modern or 30s modern, doesn’t make them that different.

    I wonder how much all this stuff cost? Quite possibly, it’s mostly junk. It might not have added much to the cost of the building. At least not compared to what swank corporations spend on their upscale furniture and other accessories. Before you get all superior and angry, why not look into the actual construction cost?

    As far as their attitude, clearly they are attempting to make a statement: Mr. Western Capitalist Tycoon – we have arrived! And we will beat you at your game!

    Good luck to them…

  58. September 14, 2011 10:16 pm

    The first two photos are nice, but I think the rooms need a little something…maybe more gold…

    Congrats on being Freshly Pressed! 😉

  59. Phil permalink
    September 14, 2011 10:19 pm

    This is certainly an ostentatious display of excessive opulence. Yet, it differs little over the history of mankind as a marker between the haves and have-nots. How does this differ from the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris, or perhaps Buckingham Palace? Were there no poor people then when these monolithic structures were built? Should the funds to construct these have been used instead to ameliorate the suffering of the impoverished? If so, how would that have changed the world as it relates to the human condition? This display is nothing more than yet another display of wealth and power, one in a long, long line of similar displays over the course of our history. In the future, some may look to this as symbolic of the resurgence of yet another golden age of China, and smile with sentimental, if distorted memories.

  60. Tattoos, love and lunacy... permalink
    September 14, 2011 10:38 pm

    Wow! Crazy! I’m sharing this w/ my friends on FB. Crazy.

  61. September 14, 2011 11:33 pm

    Talk about opulence!

  62. September 14, 2011 11:48 pm

    “Healthy development of a business?” I’d like to know about the healthy development of the workaday employees in this business — what are their working conditions, how they’re treated by management, their reaction to the sight of such an opulent corporate headquarters, etc.

    And this is the home office of a DRUG company?!

  63. fireandair permalink
    September 14, 2011 11:58 pm

    That is nauseating.

  64. roeyani permalink
    September 15, 2011 12:01 am

    amazing.. photos

  65. September 15, 2011 12:05 am

    It has been this way for centuries; a few with great wealth demonstrating their power amidst a sea of poetry. So what else is new. Man has progressed very little in having a loving spirit from an animal that came out of a dark cave. Congrads on being chosen for FP, great pictures.

  66. September 15, 2011 1:12 am

    Well, it is rather exquisite.

  67. September 15, 2011 1:12 am

    Actually, the quote from Louis XV is “Après moi, le dèluge”. But you’re point is well-taken.

  68. September 15, 2011 1:12 am

    Jesus Christ, amazing! O.O

  69. dani permalink
    September 15, 2011 1:13 am

    I don’t know how anyone could work here and not have a raging migraine from all the crazy patterns! I got a little vertigo just looking at the pictures. Completely over the top and makes no sense

  70. September 15, 2011 7:45 pm

    Well well, dear Mr. Professor, what can we say?
    Firstly, you are a native from the country which sent us all in the fall down and crack, by its extended policy of multiculturalism or broken ethics and morality. Secondly, you work for the money, in China. Thirdly, I am not you, contrary to i am a(not multiculturalist) Roman-Catholic, because it suits me very well. Still, the expansion of China and its communism is good only for you, maybe, but me,
    Still, you are one of the many persons to teach economy(in our country, you can find a lot ffrom your ‘American’ teachers in private universities, like ‘Spiru Haret’ is.)
    Can’t you ever predict, the desastruous consequences of the China’s immorality and policy of the ‘collectivity and group’,very related to the Marxism and the Hebrew tradition of ‘kibutz’, which destroyed the moral of the brightest minds, in the shortest time?
    Ou sont les neiges d’antant?je vous demand..To the seaside, they’ve been, a few days ago, into a ‘pizza’ restaurant, i guess. Or, maybe, they are located in the monarchies…maybe.

    • September 16, 2011 5:52 pm

      In other terms, the evil does not last for long. It is not only me to predict the collapse of China, besides that of the Communist regimes around the world. The Chinese money won’t last for long, not even within China, as well.
      Our only hope for the healing of the West Side of the Globe, is to become what we’ve been taught to become: ambitious, moral, both peaceful and Extreme/Liberal or Extreme/Right. Do it right or die!It’s only your choice and responsability to be a healthy normal being, indeed.No credit for China and perversities like in the Muslim world and even the U.S. and the U.K., from me. I only fight for and prefer the best from the normal or common state of the(Western) world.Thank you a lot.

  71. September 16, 2011 2:54 am

    These are beautiful photos. Such rich colors. The ceilings are beautiful and well detailed. Thank so much for sharing these. Connie

  72. September 16, 2011 6:46 am

    amazing there

  73. chinaman permalink
    September 16, 2011 2:32 pm

    talk about tackiness!

  74. September 16, 2011 3:45 pm

    wow…. remarkable sight….

  75. AThiker permalink
    September 16, 2011 9:46 pm

    I spent a month in China this summer. The Chinese people themselves are being very careful with their money, unlike most Americans. The corporations that I visited, through the eyes of the fathers of my students, are very concerned for their employees. What I saw in China was the best of capitalism. The Chinese have a flat tax, and very few regulations on business that crushes entreprenuership. Their children are tested between school changes. The ones that test better go to better schools. That breeds competition and wanting to better yourself.

    My country used to be that way. My country used to have a flat tax where everyone paid their fair share for the defense of our country. My country used to create businesses. My country used to provoke children to compete.

    Today in my country, I read blogs denigrating corporations that create jobs (see above). This tells me that even the populace has been poisoned by the socialist agenda that has crept into our country in stages since the days of FDR. We have a tax structure where almost 50 percent of the population pays no income tax and the rest of us pay for them.
    We have an education system where no child is left behind, so there is no need to compete. Teachers are forced to teach to the slower students taking time away from the stronger students who could create the next great thing, or start a business that could employ the slower student later in life.

    The situation in my country today reminds me of the Cultural Revolution in Communist China in 1967. Mao had messed up by creating a famine with his crazy policies, so he diverted the anger the people had against him, against the bourgeouis. It seems we are headed toward a famine of sorts in my country and the political elite have been very successful at diverting the attention of the ‘common’ people toward successful corporations and the rich.

    It has been amazing to watch the transition China has made to a capitalist country and sad to watch the transition my country (the United States) has made to a socialist country. The string of comments above has shown there are still a few true Americans left, but most have been socialized by government schools and “progressive” politicians.

    • November 7, 2011 3:11 pm

      Hmm, a 17% VAT tax on everything (13% on some foodstuffs) is very regressive. It’s even worse because there are no social services in China, so poor folks who have to pay 17% tax on things like vegetables. I guess you would consider this fair.

  76. P J Evans permalink
    September 17, 2011 11:20 am

    “What’s the big deal? This is what the healthy development of a business looks like.”

    Normal in what way? The business I work at doesn’t have gilded anything that I know of, and it’s been around for more than a century. They’ve caught flak for buying art works for their offices, but it surely beats blank white walls.

  77. September 17, 2011 3:53 pm

    This is Chinese Baroque and Rococo art. The Chinese have a tradition of “excessive” and complex decoration, (matter of taste). Aesthetically, as an artist, I find the design lavish, exquisite, if a little overpowering. Garish is judging it from a Western perspective, only one of the many around the world. As for the cost overindulgence, enough said.

  78. September 17, 2011 7:13 pm


  79. September 18, 2011 2:50 pm

    as much as I would love to criticize, I just can’t get over how beautiful it is. I am used to tacky China, but they have officially graduated back into gorgeous. nice work.

  80. September 18, 2011 6:06 pm

    This is only one of a find… if you really look around you will find many more of these buildings.

  81. September 19, 2011 12:40 am

    Actually Versailles is exactly where I thought the hallway was. Who would have thought it, and in China! I guess they are no communist with a very small “C”

  82. Henry permalink
    September 20, 2011 1:13 am

    The country is reacting exactly as expected when it receives so much money that it doesn’t know what to do with it all.

    Here’s what happens:

    Or search Youtube for ” The New South China Mall…build it and they WON’T…”, by EconCat88.

    China is building ghost cities to keep the GDP value lofty. It will end badly for China, and for the world too.

  83. Teddy permalink
    September 20, 2011 7:02 pm

    So what; a Chinese parastatal has gotten a little cowboy with its exchequer! BIG DEAL. what about the greedy, UN-checked, scrupulous spending of Western corporations and governments that have gotten us into this Current Economic mess post 2008?

  84. Devil's Advocate permalink
    September 21, 2011 9:03 pm

    Who ever thought of this idea was brilliant!….The Chinese used US$ to purchase all that stuff and what better to do with worthless US$, than lock it into stuff which they purchased in the USA?…..Also a great place to store wealth…All locked into the building….Great security at no additional cost…..
    Who ever wrote that they were disgusted, had better take another look at the way the US Governmental officials and politicians have wasted their money with nothing but debt to show……
    Sorry guys….China 10 – USA Nil !!!!!

  85. norcal_steve permalink
    September 23, 2011 1:11 am

    not sure of the actual costs. some of this is very functional eg the swimming pool is not particularly excessive if there are say 10,000 employees on site. compared to offering US employees gym memberships on the same scale, probably cheaper to build your own pool and basketball court, weight room, etc.

    compare this to salaries for CEO and next few tiers down in a huge US pharma co. i don’t like the excess, but i prefer the chinese version.

  86. Heron permalink
    September 24, 2011 8:54 pm

    I prefer the literal translation of that quote, “After us, the deluge”. Today they spend like profligates; tomorrow, their children wail in impoverished despair.

  87. November 7, 2011 3:15 pm

    What is so grating about this is that it’s a state run company. So, this is built on the backs of taxpayers, not shareholders. If Microsoft wants to build a ship made of gold, that’s great. But if the US government decided to do so, I think the response would be different. Who was the government official that said “yes, it’s good to build a medicine factory that looks like Versailles”?

    In terms of aesthetic quality, I still think it’s very sad that Chinese designers are more apt to follow 1920s garish Western style instead of their own 2000 years of beautiful architecture.

  88. nicolas permalink
    November 9, 2011 5:17 pm

    The catch is : it is all in plastic

  89. November 13, 2011 6:37 am

    Oh my god. This has to be one of the most obscenely decandent displays ever.

  90. Tom permalink
    September 17, 2012 4:19 am

    I thought that the inside looks like the Las Vegas School of Architecture, but my own personal taste runs more to Craftsman Style architecture.

    Funny how many commented on the economic issues and yes, a Communist country doing this kind of cracks me up.

    Good taste, bad taste, over the top, garish, amazing…. it’s not a McMansion at least!

    “If it wasn’t for bad taste, there would be no taste at all.”

    The Hermitage I understand used to be an insurance company office. Or is that the KGB building I’m thinking of?

    Everyone is entitled to their own personal taste, but I think that as far as a corporation goes, you simply do not see this kind of stuff here in the US. The stockholders would scream too loudly. I think that the last none Bauhaus buildings built for a corporation might have been the Johnson & Johnson home offices by FL Wright. I know that there was a lot of screaming and yelling over Wright’s Marin County Civic Center in the USA ‘wasting’ all that public money on that building, but can anyone name any other Civic Center in the US that has as memorable and as unique a style as that building? As far as civic architecture goes, how many buildings here in the US are anything besides Greek Revival or Boring Glass Box?

    Not my taste, but it will be around after 90% of the boring glass boxes built today are demolished,


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