China ‘waterfall’ skyscraper hit by torrent of ridicule

An aerial view of a 108-meter-high (350 feet) artificial waterfall on the facade of the Liebian International Building in Guiyang in China's Guizhou province. (Reuters)
Updated 27 July 2018

China ‘waterfall’ skyscraper hit by torrent of ridicule

  • Latest building in China to draw ridicule
  • President called for end to 'weird architecture' in 2014

BEIJING: A skyscraper in southwest China that boasts what its owner calls the world’s largest man-made waterfall has become the latest example of over-the-top architecture to draw national ridicule.
The tower in the city of Guiyang was built with a spectacular 108-meter (350-feet) cascade tumbling down its face — but cash flow could prove a problem for the ostentatious design.
Although the Liebian International Building is not yet finished, the water feature was completed two years ago.
However it has only been turned on six times, with the owners blaming the high cost — 800 yuan ($120) per hour — of pumping water to the top of the 121-meter-high structure.
Constructed by the Ludi Industry Group, the building will house a shopping mall, offices and a luxury hotel.
Its signature artificial waterfall uses runoff, rainwater and groundwater collected in giant underground tanks.
The company said the feature pays homage to the local region’s rugged nature, but Chinese netizens have mocked the project as a waste of money.
“If they could just turn it on once every few months, the company would save on cleaning windows,” one user wrote on China’s Twitter-like social network Weibo.
China’s rapid economic growth has been accompanied by a construction boom, often including outlandish buildings that are criticized as a waste of public or shareholder funds.
The Beijing headquarters of state broadcaster China Central Television features a futuristic design now nicknamed “The Big Underpants” due to its resemblance to a giant pelvis.
Web users also noted last year a building on the campus of a water-resources university gained notoriety for resembling a toilet.
The issue prompted President Xi Jinping in 2014 to call for an end to what he called “weird architecture.”

Saudi Arabia PIF’s $40bn boost aimed at post-pandemic profit

Updated 19 min 24 sec ago

Saudi Arabia PIF’s $40bn boost aimed at post-pandemic profit

  • Since the COVID-19 crisis began, the PIF has spent $7.7 billion amassing a portfolio

DUBAI: The Public Investment Fund (PIF), Saudi Arabia’s ambitious sovereign wealth fund, is seeking to use the extra $40 billion it was recently granted from government reserves to benefit the Kingdom and its citizens when the current coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic is over.

A spokesperson for the PIF said that the injection from reserves held by the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority — announced last week — “allow us to tap into a number of local and global investment opportunities at attractive prices. This includes investments in sectors that are well positioned to drive economic growth and value creation and derive benefits for the citizens of our country well beyond the current crisis.”

Since the COVID-19 crisis began, the PIF has spent $7.7 billion amassing a portfolio of shake stakes in some of the best-known corporate brand names in the world, including Boeing, Disney, Facebook and Marriott International. It also took big holdings in independent oil companies Shell, Total and BP, as well as banking giants like Citigroup and Bank of America.

The shares of these and other investments in the PIF spending spree had been affected by the dramatic downturn in the US stock market after the first pandemic related lockdowns. They have since recovered almost to all-time highs as US authorities took emergency measures to support its financial institutions.

Some investors are calculating that there will be a rapid economic recovery when the lockdowns end, to send stock markets soaring again.

“The PIF’s role is to invest the nation’s wealth in a way that generates long-term attractive returns and a diversified source of wealth for the Saudi people. The uncertainty caused by COVID-19, and the subsequent drop in global oil prices, highlights why our economic diversification efforts are so important. Capital injections from the government are an established source of funding for the PIF, as outlined in our strategy as part of our Vision Realization Program,” the PIF spokesman said.

The fresh resources for the fund, which has $320 billion of assets under management, will provide extra firepower to take advantage of perceived bargains. Yasir Al-Rumayyan, governor of the PIF, said last month: “You don’t want to waste a crisis. We’re looking into any opportunities.”