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Asia's 6 biggest construction projects of 2017

For the world's most expensive infrastructure and transport developments, look no further

A construction site in the Beijing Central Business District. Sean K/Shutterstock


Some of the highest-value construction projects in the world for this year are all located in Asia, as per the Arcadis International Construction Costs 2017. Construction markets in the region are expected to see an expansion of 5 to 7 percent a year, despite easing growth rate over the past 18 months.

Despite the exorbitant cost of the region’s biggest projects, they are all worth it in the end. Last year, the built environment contributed to USD36 trillion of the global GDP.

Count down to the biggest, highest-value construction projects in Asia this year:

6. Chengdu Tianfu International Airport

Construction works in Chengdu, Sichuan Province, China. LP2 Studio/Shutterstock[/caption]
China will increase the number of civil airports to 260 within three years. One of the more high-profile air complexes will be the Tianfu International Airport in Chengdu, which will receive a USD11-billion outlay. It will be the first airport in the country to have decentralised terminals. Up to 90 million passengers and two million tons of cargo are expected to pass through the air hub every year by 2045.

5. Beijing Daxing International Airport

Construction at Beijing Central Business District in April 2016. testing/Shutterstock[/caption]
Of the 130-plus airports cropping up across mainland China, the Beijing Daxing International Airport is the biggest yet. It will serve as a replacement of the Beijing Nanyuan Airport, and is on track for a 2019 opening. With a construction value of USD13 billion, Daxing Airport is expected to handle at least 80 million passengers every year.

4. Jeddah Economic City

A view of Jeddah Corniche at the edge of the Red Sea, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. drpyan/Shutterstock[/caption]
The project formerly known as Kingdom City is a USD20-billion construction behemoth of homes, hotels, and office towers. This includes Jeddah Tower, set to be one of the world’s tallest structures upon completion. Jeddah Economic City will sprawl for two square miles.

More: What can Sri Lanka do to attract more foreign direct investment?

3. Dubai Al Maktoum Airport

Construction workers having a break in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Rastislav Sedlak SK/Shutterstock[/caption]
Dubai pushes the envelope yet again in superlative construction projects with a USD33-billion investment on its the Al Maktoum International Airport. Set to relieve increasingly monstrous air traffic in the emirate, Al Maktoum is envisioned to become the world’s largest airport with an annual capacity of 220 million passengers and 16 million tons of cargo.

2. Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor

Golden hour over building construction in Noida, Delhi, India. Amlan Mathur/Shutterstock[/caption]
As its name suggests, this project covers a wide swath of the continent between the largest metropolises of India. Valued at USD90 billion, the corridor will encompass 24 industrial zones, across seven states and eight smart cities. Part and parcel of the project is the 1,500-kilometre long Western Dedicated Freight Corridor, set to be finished at the end of 2019.

1. One Belt, One Road

Construction site at Shanghai's Bund area. Captain Yeo/Shutterstock[/caption]
Taking inspiration from the Silk Route of yore, China is rabidly paving the path for its ambitious One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative. This is China’s biggest spending spree yet: a mammoth, 13-year investment in energy and transport infrastructure that spans Eurasia, Central Asia, Oceania, North Africa, and Southeast Asia. The program is two-pronged, focusing on landbased projects as well as maritime investments. OBOR, currently valued at USD150 billion, is widely regarded as China’s launchpad into a bigger role in global affairs.


Hong Kong just became the world’s second-most expensive city for construction

Asia has four of the 10 highest-value construction projects in 2017

[caption id="attachment_61357" align="aligncenter" width="740"] Observation Wheel in Hong Kong. Iakov Kalinin/Shutterstock[/caption]

Hong Kong has vaulted to second place worldwide in an annual list of the world’s most expensive destinations for construction by global design and consultancy firm Arcadis.

The Chinese SAR dislodged London from its second-place perch in the 2017 International Construction Costs Index. A deficit of construction operatives, estimated at more than 10,000 people, has primarily driven costs up and led to deferred project completions in the city.

The shortage is exacerbated by the local populace's minimal tolerance for migrant labour. “As a result, initiatives to increase industry productivity are gaining a higher profile in Hong Kong,” the report stated.

Singapore, on the other hand, has seen softening construction costs. The city-state ranked 15th most expensive city in the world to build in, down five notches from last year’s index.

Like Hong Kong, Singapore is confronted with a labour shortage, with the local government increasing levies on wages of mid-skilled overseas workers to spur talent retention.

More: Singapore, Seoul ranked Asia’s most sustainable cities

Singapore is third most expensive city in Asia for construction, next only to Hong Kong and Macau, which remained in fifth place as last year. Arcadis cited such high-workload projects in the latter as the Zhuhai Macau bridge link.

Other Asian entries on the 44-city index include Tokyo, Dubai, Seoul, Brunei, Shanghai, Manila and Bangkok. New York remained on its first-place perch worldwide, followed by Geneva at third.

Four of the 10 highest-value construction projects in 2017 are in Asia, including the USD150-billion One Belt One Road (OBOR) initiative stretching from China to Central Asia and the USD90-billion Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor.

"The future of the construction industry in Asia is looking optimistic, said Alan Hearn, head of buildings solutions for Asia at Arcadis. "However, we believe that the construction industry drivers for the future will change."

Read next: Where in Asia is the most expensive for construction?

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