Skyscraper takes village to new heights

Updated: 2011-10-10 08:27

By Tan Zongyang (China Daily)

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Skyscraper takes village to new heights

The new skyscraper in Huaxi village, the 328-meter Longxi International Hotel, opened to guests on Saturday in Jiangsu. [Photo/Agencies]

BEIJING - A new landmark skyscraper in Huaxi village, East China's Jiangsu province, welcomed guests on Saturday, raising the skyline of the country's wealthiest village to a new height.

The 74-story Longxi International Hotel, 328 meters high, is as high as the tallest building in Beijing.

The building ranks as the 15th-highest skyscraper in the world, dwarfing many famous buildings such as the Eiffel Tower in Paris and New York's Chrysler Building.

Work on the five-star hotel began in 2007 and was completed in less than four years. It cost 3 billion yuan ($470 million) and was partly financed by the villagers. Each of the 200 households became a shareholder by providing 10 million yuan, the China News Service reported.

"The building is a symbol of collectivism," Zhou Li, deputy Party chief of the village and manager of the Huaxi Village Tourism Co, told China Daily.

According to Zhou, the building has more than 800 suites, which could accommodate about 2,000 people.

The high-rise also features an exhibition hall, revolving restaurant, rooftop swimming pool and gardens. An ox made of a ton of gold is displayed on the 60th floor.

The building was opened on the same day that the village celebrated its 50th anniversary.

Wu Xie'en, Party secretary of Huaxi village, said at the opening ceremony that the skyscraper could help ease the pressure on the village caused by limited land as well as raising living standards of its people.

Huaxi village was formerly a typical poor farming community in East China. But thanks to the flowering of township enterprises and the opening-up policy that stimulated the local economy in the past three decades, the small village is now a powerhouse symbol of China's economic expansion.

Last year, the village bought two helicopters for sightseeing tours. So far, about 3,600 people have participated in the pilot program, Wu said.

"The air flight project and our new skyscraper are our ways to improve the quality of tourism," said Zhou Li, adding that with these steps, the village aims to accelerate the urbanization process, which makes living in a village the same as living in a city.