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The Top 10 Buildings in China — China’s Biggest and Best

In 2016, China, Hong Kong, and Macau have about 10 of the world's 20 tallest skyscrapers, the biggest building/mall, and 5 of the 10 biggest casinos. Yet even taller/bigger buildings are being built. Nine of these huge modern buildings and the National Stadium are the 10 best buildings to see in China.

Most of these ten buildings are in Shanghai, Shenzhen, Macau, and Hong Kong, and have been built in the last 8 years. Beijing has iconic large structures preserved from the imperial era.

1. Shanghai Tower

shanghai tower

  • Height: 632 meters (2,073 feet), 121 floors
  • Built: 2014, opened 2015
  • Cost: 2.2 billion USD
  • Special features: tallest in China, world's 2nd tallest building (2016)

Shanghai Tower is the second tallest building in the world after the Burj Kalifa. It is 196 meters (643 feet) shorter, and 29 meters (95 feet) taller than its nearest rival, Mecca's Clock Tower.

It is a showcase of 21st century engineering. It has a spiraling cylindrical shape to help the building weather typhoons.

2. Ping An IFC, Shenzhen

ping an tower

  • Height: 599 meters (1,965 feet), 115 floors
  • Built: 2016
  • Cost: 700 million USD
  • Special features: Second tallest building in China, 4th tallest in the world (2016)

The new Ping An Tower is also a 21st century engineering marvel. Though it is very tall, it was built comparatively very cheaply and quickly. There is a large twin tower luxury mall complex on the bottom, a world-class observation deck at 550 meters (1,804 feet) for sightseeing, and the world's second highest luxury hotel, after the Ritz Carlton on the ICC, on top.

3. Shanghai World Financial Center

shanghai world financial center

  • Height: 492 meters (1,614 feet), 101 floors
  • Built: 2008
  • Cost: 1.2 billion USD
  • Special features: Fourth tallest building in China, eighth tallest in the world (2016)

The Shanghai World Financial Center is known for far more than the offices that call the building its home. Completed in 2008, SWFC took over 10 years to complete due to financial shortages and construction delays. Since its completion, it has won numerous architectural awards.

Tourists are welcome at SWFC's observation deck, which at 474 meters (1,555 feet) above ground is the world's highest enclosed viewing platform (the highest outdoor observation deck is on the Canton Tower).

Those who are not afraid of heights might consider staying at the Park Hyatt Shanghai, the world's second highest hotel.

4. ICC Tower, HK

ICC tower

  • Height: 475 meters (1,558 feet), 118 floors
  • Built: 2011
  • Cost: 3.8 billion USD
  • Special features: World's tallest hotel (Ritz Carlton), world's highest swimming pool, tallest building in Hong Kong, 9th tallest in the world (2016)

The ICC Tower overlooks beautiful Victoria Harbor. It is part of a new financial hub in Hong Kong that is one of the world's top financial centers. The land itself cost about 1 billion USD.

Sky 100 is a 100th floor observation deck, and its Elements Mall is one of the best in the city. It has the best lighting display in the Symphony of Lights.

5. CTF Finance Center, Guangzhou

CTF tower

  • Height: 530 meters (1,740 feet), 111 floors
  • Built: 2016
  • Special features: China's 3rd tallest building (2016)

The new building stands out as one of two supertall towers in Tianhe in downtown Guangzhou. It is number six in height in the world. It is considered the fastest assembled skyscraper of the supertall variety in history.

6. The National Stadium, or The Bird's Nest, Beijing

bird's nest

  • Height: 68.5 meters
  • Built: 2007
  • Cost: 428 million USD

The National Stadium was designed chiefly for the 2008 Summer Olympics. It is often referred to as the Bird's Nest due to the outer "nest" of additional steel that was incorporated into the design in order to hide the numerous steel trusses.

The National Stadium can hold up to 80,000 people. Because of its versatility, it has been used for a winter theme park, the Supercoppa Italiana, and multiple other events. Currently, the National Stadium's chief income is as a tourist attraction. It reportedly draws more than 20,000 tourists every day.

Our Beijing Highlights with Olympic Glories tour includes an exterior view of the Water Cube as well as the National Stadium.

7. IFC Tower, HK

IFC tower

  • Height: 408 meters (1,340 feet), 88 floors
  • Built: 2003
  • Cost: about 2.2 billion USD
  • Special features: luxury mall, central tourist location

The three IFC towers include a popular luxury mall and the Four Seasons Hotel.

As of 2016, it probably has the best and most convenient transportation links of any of these buildings with four subway lines, a popular tram, and major ferry terminals around it.

8. King Key 100

king key 100

  • Height: 441 meters (1,449 feet), 100 floors
  • Built: 2011
  • Cost: about 800 million USD
  • Special features: An opulent St. Regis hotel, China's 5th tallest building, world's 15th tallest (2015)

The building lights up the night sky in Luohu, Shenzhen near Hong Kong, and the 100th floor observation deck gives a grand view of the greenery of Hong Kong and the blue sea. It sits in an emergent financial center in the city. Read more on KK100.

9. Venetian Macau

venetian macau

  • Height: 225 metes (738 feet), 39 floors
  • Floor space: 10.5 million square feet
  • Built: 2007
  • Cost: 2.4 billion USD
  • Special features: the world's biggest casino, 7th largest building in the world by floor area, 3,000 hotel rooms

The hotel is one of the highlights of Macau. The prime attractions are the mall that has a realistic recreation of a canal street in Venice and the 15,000 people capacity arena where big events are held.

10. New Century Global Center

new century global center

  • Height: 99 meters (325 feet), 18 floors
  • Floor space: 16 million square feet (1.5 million square meters)
  • Built: 2013
  • Special features: the biggest building in the world in terms of floor area, water park, IMAX theater, 2 hotels with 1,000 rooms

This huge mall in Chengdu is about twice the size of both the previous mall record holder in Dubai and the biggest mall in Guangdong called the New South China Mall. It is designed to be a self-contained town.

China Highlights Tours

shanghaiVisit the splendid buildings with us!

On a tour of Shanghai, we can take you to the Shanghai Tower and arrange dinners or a stay in the J Hotel at the top if you wish.

Shenzhen is becoming a tourist destination and a bargain shopping area next to Hong Kong, and we can take you to the KK100 or the Ping An Tower and arrange stays in the hotels and dining in the restaurants. See Shenzhen's modern wonders and laid back style.

  • 4-Day Guangzhou and Shenzhen Tour includes going to the Window of the World. Tell us, and we can easily include dining at a high gourmet Ping An Tower restaurant, perhaps for lunch or dinner.

Contact us for a customized trip to see China's amazing buildings.

Further Reading