The Fake-British Ghost Town In China: Thames Town

The Fake-British Ghost Town In China: Thames Town


I am still in the Arctic, so today’s guest
video comes from Collin Rodefer over at the Collin Sphere Travel Vlog, who’s
reporting from China. Nice to meet you, my name is Collin and here
we are in beautiful Shanghai, China. Home to tens of millions of people, Shanghai is one of the most populated cities
in the world. You might know some attractions that Shanghai
has to offer, such as the Bund, Nanjing Road, and even the newly opened Disneyland. But despite the enormous population, you might be surprised to find out that here
lies, within this city, fully built newly constructed towns that remain
virtually empty. Modern day ghost towns. Located at the end of subway line 9 lies Thames
Town, an English style ghost town with street names
such as Prince and Harry Street. It’s what you might expect from a replica
town which even sports many statues of well-known figures from English history
and culture. This town was originally built to service
a thriving community. And with shop signs that read “open”, you have to take a closer look to realise
that the fresh fruits that are on display in the windows are actually
fake and that these shots are, in fact, abandoned. On the chance that you do encounter people, it’s not hard to see that this town serves
more as a place of tourism, and even more so, a backdrop for wedding photography. Completed in 2006, Thames Town was one of
nine Western-style towns to be built on the outskirts of Shanghai. In order to alleviate pressure and congestion
within the city centre. It was reported that it cost ¥5 billion to
complete, and can house up to 10,000 people. Its sole purpose was to house students and
staff at nine universities in nearby Songjiang University City. As you can tell, ten years later, it just hasn’t met that purpose. After walking the perimeter of the town, which only occupies one square kilometre of
space, and seeing nothing but empty residential after
residential, I decided to test my luck and head into the
city centre to see what kind of lively events Thames Town
has to offer on a summer’s weekend night. Nothing. So why did this happen? Why did this fail? Well, once the town was completed, the majority of properties were bought up
by wealthy investors and individuals looking to make businesses and this place
their second home. As naturally, as demand rises, prices rise, and in this case prices skyrocketed, making it unattainable for universities to
provide accommodation for their students and staff. So with the majority of properties purchased, you end up with a lot of empty shops, and
you have all the businesses trying to provide services for around 1,000
people when the population should really be around
ten times that. When you think of a ghost town, you may think of the classic Western American
towns we all see in movies with the ever-so-classic tumbleweeds being
blown into the distance. The difference between a town like that and
this, is that those towns one point developed communities and now we just have the remains of the buildings – whereas here everything is new and clean,
and is just… existing. Walking to this town, you definitely get an
eerie feeling here, and it kind of almost feels like the Truman
Show, as in you know there’s people living here, however something about it just feels fake. The best way to describe it, I would say, is it kind of feels like a Hollywood set. But behind closed doors it doesn’t feel
so Hollywood, and you get a totally different feeling. Searching around, I was able to get into a
small coffee shop called Andy Coffee, and with the counters turned over and the
chairs thrown around, you get the feeling that previous owners just
up-and-left the place. Like, they had to be suddenly evacuated. In that moment, I was rather paranoid about
being in there, but in hindsight, I really should have just sat down and brewed
myself a coffee. The thought that I keep trying to shake is
that this is an actual community where people actually
live their lives, rather than just being a tourist attraction. And there’s reasons why there have been
many comparisons to the EPCOT Center, and I have to keep reminding myself that I
can stay here as long as I want. There is no closing time. It’s… it’s quite interesting to say
the least, and would I live here? Definitely. Definitely, if I could afford it. If you were to ask me how English this is
town actually feel, I would say that other than the Chinese characters
around every corner, and other tell-tale signs such as bamboo scaffolding, you would have a hard time differentiating
between Thames Town and an actual English town. Of course you can nitpick the small things, like windows being larger in comparison, but this is just a preference of Chinese culture. The middle ground lies somewhere in both the
English and Chinese undying love for tea. Now whether this town is deemed successful
or not, that’s not my call. And although the town did not meet its initial
purpose, the fact that the majority of the properties
were purchased, coupled with the fact that China is now building
another one of these towns in Beijing, tells me that they see something worthwhile
in building these little western towns. Once again, my name is Collin, and thank you
for experiencing this amazing place with me. Thank you, Collin! Go subscribe to his channel now, links are in the description or on screen. He’s got loads of great videos like that. And what I love about that is finding out
that the replica version of London has exactly the same property bubble problem
as the real version of London. Next time, the final guest video: and it’s about something that you’ve probably
seen and probably didn’t want to.

100 thoughts on “The Fake-British Ghost Town In China: Thames Town

  1. "Shunghy"

  2. Interesting video !China have their traditional style towns and also have western style towns.China really a amazing country!

  3. Euro fashion spelled using comic sans just killed me

  4. Gotta love how the businesses and investors actually destroyed the very thing they were investing in. Otherwise, it would have been a great place to live

  5. Proof that too many investors and not enough affordability kill towns and cities (in this case before it even became established).

  6. this guy needs braces

  7. I guess this is fair now that Trump is going to build a replica of the Great Wall of China.

  8. 3:58 Comic Sans…

  9. Really enjoyed this video. If you take a look at Brindley Place in Birmingham(on Google), you can see the inspiration for this place.

  10. it doesnt really look like an english town at all it looks like a posh mediterranean town imo

  11. Looks nothing like an English town, where are the abandoned shopping carts and empty stella cans?

  12. and english town in china is pretty much the same thing as chinatown in britain and north america

  13. Bit North Korean

  14. What, 3:45 thats ridicules I live literally just south of london and Ive never seen any town like that. It just looks like a big novelty.

  15. I guarantee that the guest host is from Minnesota or Wisconsin. I can't help but recognize my home state accent!

  16. 2:06 1984, almost ironic

  17. 50,000 people used to live here… Now it's a ghost town.

  18. There even is a fake german ghost town in china. Wtf chinese people…

  19. 700 million usd for that town ? Daimm thats cheap, 2 good quality 50 story towers cost about the same in the US

  20. I love this video so much I downloaded it in case Youtube ever decides to take it off for whatever reason. This is so crazy it makes me actually want to physically visit. I hope they don't tear it down before I go there.

  21. Why is this only about the British fake town? It's only part of the entire project that also consists of a Scandinavian, Italian, Spanish, Canadian, Dutch and German town. The title should be: "The Fake-European Ghost Towns in China". Nothing exclusively British about it.
    Wired has it right: "Inside the Bizarre, Euro-Themed Towns of Shanghai".. not "German", or "Scandinavian", or "French" or "British" or "Dutch".. simply "Euro"
    https://www.wired.com/2017/02/tim-fenby-made-in-china/

  22. im starting to wonder if that's not tom scott

  23. I love the music from purple-planet

  24. 3006 ?…

  25. …you said Yen…I think you meant Yuan.

  26. Not authentic. not enough migrants 😛

  27. Chinese investors buying up British property and making it unaffordable for students? Sounds familiar….

  28. big business ruins cool stuff

  29. The background music is way to loud on this video. Especially since the audio is 'recorded on the street while walking' quality. Luckily there are captions otherwise I wouldn't be able to watch at all.

  30. 0:52 Fake… Grapefruits?

  31. Think about how many people there are in the world, and in china especially, who need housing…

  32. Ahhh music

  33. So. Weird.

  34. When I was there in the end of 2013, we saw the Swedish themed ghost town north of Shanghai called either "Lake Meilan" or "Lake Malaren" after the actual lake Mälaren. This description of these ghost towns appear to match perfectly. Not many people seemed to live there and the main purpose of the place felt like it was for couples to take wedding pictures.

  35. Wouldn't it get eerier if filmed at night?

  36. 2:06 a statue of a book, which warns against communism, in a communist country that build a city in a capitalist style….
    ok my head hurts

  37. This seems strange.

  38. Set for the live action FFVII

  39. This video seems like it's panicked that people might not watch all of it. So the presenter and music are really really really fast, ignored to keep pop;e engaged. 

    The subject is interesting, the shots, as always are beautiful and the script is definitely food for thought. But the sound mixing and presenting style came off as annoying and self-defeating.

  40. Except that is not abandoned anymore: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gqw09G6hwC8

  41. So its a massive real estate scam/racket, like most properties in China? Gotcha

  42. Western countries complained when their cities are copied, but did China complain when western countries build their own Chinatowns?

  43. well it's a bit exaggerated. I live at downtown Shanghai and I went to this Thames Town on weekends and holidays, usually with family and kids. I saw lot of tourists just chilled out there. beautiful scene. not as empty as the vid shows.

  44. Idea for the greatest flash mob in history: Get a hundred thousand people from England, get them all into the town at night, then just set up shop and act like they'd always been there. Start making those calls.

  45. When did you guys make this video? I'm from America. I traveled to China, and went to this Thames Town around July 2016. This is very very nice town w/ British-like Architecture. Maybe you're right about one thing, not a lot of people live there. But not everything copy means Fake, lolz. At least I was happy to visit this town. The place is amazing, very nice for sight seeing. Decent tourists in my opinion, kind of far away from Shanghai. If my friend didn't tell me this place, i wouldn't know it. Good spot for Wedding photo. Some movies were filmed here too. Very clean outside. They have one of the amazing library that i've seen so far also. I would come back here to visit, or recommend friends whoever travel to China to check out this place.

  46. Awesome tour! The exhibit looks great, big like from us! 👍👍

  47. Crazy! And they were building another one too?! Crazier!

  48. I’m surprised China put up with that.

  49. 2:06 Nineteen Eighty-Four is probably not a book the authoritarian Chinese government would want to acknowledge surely?

  50. I was in university back when this 'town' was built, exaclty in this supposedly 'nearby' Songjiang university city. I haven't had and till this day, still don't have, any idea what the point was with this town. we thought it's a tourist spot, but heard there's nothing in it other than empty houses. and it was still relatively far away so i've never been there.

  51. Nice video, but PLEASE let this be a lesson not to use background music while speaking.

  52. So… this is pretty much a reverse Chinatown?

  53. china does really copy everything

  54. How ironic that there is a sculpture with George Orwells 1984.. in China..

  55. I would love to submit a guest video.

  56. Is it me or his accent changed towards the end of the video?

  57. Looks more American

  58. An empty town full of houses that no-one can afford served by businesses that have been abandoned? Sounds like Zone 1 London to me. 11/10 for accuracy.

  59. Sorry, I had to down-vote this. It would have been interesting, but it was unwatchable due to the f***ing MUSIC playing in the background COMPETING with the narration. I want to listen to what the guy is saying: not have it drowned out with a damn dance track.

  60. You could actually live there and no-one would notice.
    Just remember to stock up on food and water ever-so-often.

  61. So want to make a movie just go here.

  62. WHY IS HE YELLING?!

  63. I've never heard a more American accent. Something about the cadence…I'm from Minnesota.

  64. Its almost as if China took one look at China town in London, then thought "Hey, we should make england town!"

  65. Paris

  66. SHUNGHAI

  67. I would be extremely excited and happy if I had the option to visit one of these chinese ghost-towns.

  68. I just find it immensely satisfactory that investors shafted themselves in such a fashion, they have been punished without any legal action

  69. It looks so cheap

  70. Nineteen Eighty-four in China?

  71. Those investors got money to burn…

  72. But are there counterfeit markets in there tho. I'm tryna cop some SUPRIME

  73. Cultural appropriation

  74. Will have to check out Thames town on our visit – the phone box looked awesome but perhaps a little shorter than London!?

  75. When you're so rich that you decide to build a city just for the hell of it.

  76. Curious that it's called Thames Town, when the canalside bit of it looks almost exactly like the renovated canalside parts of central Birmingham. Like, I live here, but if you'd shown me the photo without saying it was in China, I could have been fooled.

    Though the riverside bit looks one half Black Country, one half Stratford. And may well actually be like some part of the Thames, just not the bit that goes through London proper, therefore…?

    That tram is 100% out of place, though. I don't think we ever had anything that looked like that. It's got a much more American streetcar feel to it.

  77. Nobody lives there because it's a town made in China. Thames town should be James town

  78. I live in Shanghai… How did I miss this?

  79. Why are you always in the artic and similar places?

  80. Qué tiene de malo que use polera roja?
    What’s wrong with the red t shirt?

  81. looks like a fun place to bike

  82. Then why aren't the prices falling to make it more affordable?

  83. What an annoying "music" with this video.

  84. I guess that really is quite an amazing place!

  85. The canals are a copy of Brindley Place in Birmingham

  86. "5 Billion Yen"? Why did they use the Japanese currency to measure that?

  87. The Chinese square mile…

  88. When you you try to make a NPC village in Minecraft.

  89. As an English native I will say that it looks superficially convincing, however, when you actually scrutinise it you suddenly realise that it’s just a medium accuracy mock-up. Good effort though!

  90. If anyone watching in 2019: in 2017 and 18, a lot of properties in this town are regulated and resold and finally reopened, and now it is a successful town, with real people and real shops. After a year's redevelopment, it's not a ghost town any more.

  91. So, it was gentrified before people even moved in?

  92. Never knew..great info👍🏻

  93. Parts of it look similar to the canal/brindleyplace area of Birmingham

  94. Looks a bit like Kingston/Richmond

  95. anyone else see a likeness to Bristol in that place?

  96. 2:39 that bit reminds me of the canals in the city centre of Birmingham

  97. Of course they would build another one, this one got sold so the project made profit, everything's green on paper. If it's actually populated isn't exactly relevant to the topic, and taxes are still paid by the owners.

  98. Doesn’t look like any English town that I’ve ever been to.

  99. Can I live there for free?

  100. Why did Tom have to not do this one? The guest videos are hard to watch because Tom is missing.

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