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China s tallest tower coming

SHANGHAI, November 27 – Construction is set to begin on Saturday on a 632-metre Chinese scroll-shaped glass tower that will be the country\’s tallest, in what officials are calling a symbol of hope in a time of financial crisis.

The 14.8-billion-yuan ($2.2-billion) \’Shanghai Tower\’ is expected to be completed by 2014 in the city\’s Pudong district, Gu Jianping, president of the Shanghai Tower Construction and Development Company told a news conference.

"At a time of financial crisis, this kind of mega-project will have a much bigger positive impact on society than any regular-size infrastructure project," Gu said.

"It will help boost people\’s confidence which has been battered by the recent financial turmoil."

Planning for the project began 15 years ago and the tower is going ahead as scheduled despite the current economic climate, he told reporters.

The tower, which has an innovative double-layer \’glass skin\’ that creates a 128-storey atrium between the glass enclosed offices and the tower\’s outer surface, is being built by a consortium of three state companies, officials said.

The partners are the Shanghai-listed Lujiazui Finance and Trade Zone Development Co Ltd, Shanghai Chengtou Corp, a city government-backed conglomerate, and the Shanghai Construction Group, one of China\’s largest construction contractors.

Gu said they were confident about financing with 5.4 billion yuan in registered capital and strong government backing, but he declined to give further details.

He said the project would leave Shanghai well-positioned for the global economy\’s recovery and starting construction now presented opportunities because raw material and energy costs had fallen sharply.

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The tower is being built next to China\’s current tallest building, the 492-metre (1,614-foot) bottle opener-shaped Shanghai World Financial Centre, which opened in September and is owned by Japanese developer Minoru Mori.

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