Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Steel Shanghaied

It seems like China is having a steel problem.

Shanghai’s futuristic skyline—the city has more than 900 high-rises, with hundreds more under construction—is one of the most potent symbols of China’s economic rise. But the materials undergirding all that growth might be shakier than anyone can imagine. In March, the English-language Shanghai Daily reported that fully half of the steel sold to construction companies in Shanghai’s wholesale markets failed basic quality tests. Nearly a quarter of the tested samples failed tension tests, meaning structures built with them would not be able to withstand earthquakes and would be more likely to decay over time.
All China needs is one good earthquake and it will solve its overpopulation problem with ease. And think of it. They will have a huge building boom to follow keeping people employed.

It would be like having a war only better. The necessity of spending on explosives and their delivery systems would be greatly reduced.


Anonymous said...
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M. Simon said...

Thanks for the commercial Steel.

Now perhaps you would care to say something about your quality control process. It would be a shame if an earthquake crushed your customers.

kurt9 said...

Questions about the quality of construction in China should not surprise anyone. Japan has a serious scandal in late '05 when it was discovered that a major architect in Tokyo had fudged the engineering calculations for many of the buildings that his firm built in Tokyo over the years. Later, it was found that such fudging of structural calculations was a widespread practice in Japan's construction industry, which is well-known for corruption.

The upshot is that many buildings throughout Tokyo and the rest of Japan may not survive a major earthquake like they are supposed to.

The fact that this can happen in Japan, where the people are far more anal-retentively careful about what they do compared to the Chinese, suggests that this kind of corruption would most certainly be far worse in China than in Japan.