LTL’s Breakdown of the Tallest Buildings and Towers in China and Beyond
How much do you know about the tallest buildings in China?
Did you know that China has half of the top 10 total tallest buildings in the world! This includes the number two spot of the world’s tallest buildings with the Shanghai Tower.
Here we’re going to give a breakdown of the 15 tallest buildings in China. We’ll also have a look at the two tallest towers, as they’re pretty impressive.
Tallest Buildings in China – Top 5
Tallest Buildings in China – #6 – #10
Tallest Buildings in China – #11 – #15
Tallest Buildings in China – Two Tallest Towers
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Tallest Buildings in China – Top 5
#1 Shanghai Tower
The Shanghai Tower currently has the number one spot as the tallest building in China, and the number two spot of tallest building in the world.
At 632 metres, it is quite a lot shorter than the Burj Khalifa in Dubai which stands at an incredible 829.8 metres!
Completed in 2015, the tower took seven years to complete, with construction beginning in 2008.
The Shanghai Tower holds the record (tied with the Ping An Finance Centre) of having the world’s highest observation deck within a building or structure at 562 m.
The observation deck is all the way up on the 118th floor, but in total there are actually 128 floors!
There have been many rooftopping attempts of the Shanghai Tower, one of which you can see below. It gives me the shakes just watching it!
For those unfamiliar with the term, rooftopping is when a person climbs unsecured to the top of a building, crane etc.
#2 Ping An Finance Centre
At 599 metres Ping An Finance Centre is the fourth tallest building in the world.
Built in the quickly expanding city of Shenzhen, construction began in 2009 and was finished in 2015. It was commissioned by Ping An Insurance, hence the name of the building.
The observation deck is located at the very top of the building on the 116th floor, tying with the Shanghai Tower for tallest observation deck.
Like the Shanghai Tower, the Ping An Finance Centre has also been the subject of many rooftopping attempts.
#3 Guangzhou CTF Finance Centre
The Guangzhou CTF Finance Centre is one half of the Guangzhou Twin Towers. It is also called the East Tower, and we’ll talk about its twin the West Tower later on.
Construction of the The Guangzhou CTF Finance Centre began in 2009 and topped out in 2014.
The building also houses the world’s fastest elevators, with an incredible top speed of 20.5 metres per second!
A competition was held by the developer of the building to design it. The competition was won by the American architecture firm Kohn Pedersen Fox.
An interesting feature of the building is its mullions which are made out of glazed terracotta. It looks like terracotta isn’t just for building warriors!
#4 Tianjin CTF Finance Centre
The Tianjin CTF Finance Centre is the tallest completed skyscraper in Tianjin at 530 metres.
However, this crown is set to be stolen in the near future with the Goldin Finance 117 under construction.
The Goldin Finance 117 is set to be 596.6 metres on completion so will snag the number three spot on the tallest buildings in China list.
Construction of the Tianjin CTF Finance Centre started in 2013 and finished in 2019. It is the tallest building in the world with less than 100 floors, having a total of 97 floors above ground.
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#5 China Zun
At number five we have the tallest building in Beijing: the China Zun (also known as CITIC Tower).
This building is actually located within walking distance of LTL’s Beijing school!
Originally there was upposed to be an observation deck on the 108th floor.
However, the top floors are due to be expropriated by the national-security apparatus because the whole of the Zhongnanhai complex (which includes the head quarters of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China can be seen from the top of the skyscraper on a clear day!
Construction of China Zun began in 2011 and it was completed in late 2018.
It is set to remain as Beijing’s tallest building for quite some time as a cap of 180 meters has been set on new projects in the CBD area.
I was actually lucky enough to be working in a building directly opposite China Zun while it was under construction so got to see the daily progress of it being built!
You can get a great view of China Zun from one of the bars with an outside terrace opposite.
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Tallest Buildings in China – #6 to #10
#6 Shanghai World Financial Centre
Formerly the tallest building in Shanghai before the Shanghai Tower was built we have the Shanghai World Financial Centre.
Although you may recognise the building as “the bottle opener” as it is commonly known. It’s pretty clear from looking it where that name comes from!
Though perhaps it’s not as good a nickname as the one given to the CCTV Tower in Beijing which is locally known as “big pants” (大裤子 dà kùzi ) due to it’s shape.
The Shanghai World Financial Centre is the oldest building on our list so far, with construction beginning in 1997 and finishing in 2008. Taking over 10 years to complete also makes it one of the slowest built on our list.
#7 International Commerce Centre
Next up we have the only building from Hong Kong on our list: the International Commerce Centre.
When its construction was completed in 2010 it was the fourth tallest skyscraper in the world.
Originally it was planned to be much taller than its 484 metres, with original design putting it at 574 metres.
However, it had to be scaled back due to regulations which state that no building can be taller than the surrounding mountains.
In keeping with Chinese number superstition and floors with the number 4 in them were omitted meaning that although it has 108 floors it is marketed as an 118 floor building.
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#8 Changsha IFS Tower T1
As the name suggests, Changsha IFS Tower T1 is actually one of two towers belonging to the same building. Tower 1 stands at 452 metres and Tower 2 at 315 metres.
This skyscraper is in probably the least well known city on our list. In case you didn’t know Changsha is the capital of Hunan Province.
Changsha IFS Tower was built in just four years, with construction starting in 2013 and finishing in 2017.
#9 Suzhou IFS
When you think of Suzhou you think of quiet canals and narrow streets so it might come as a surprise that it’s home to one of the tallest buildings in China.
Suzhou IFS was designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates (KPF) who have actually been involved in designing six of the top 10 tallest buildings in China!
The design of Suzhou IFS Tower is inspired by a fish, a symbol of prosperity in China. This is also in-keeping with the canals and lakes that surround Suzhou.
#10 Zifeng Tower
Just a short journey from Suzhou on the high speed train is the location of our next building Zifeng Tower in Nanjing.
I have a soft spot for this building as I lived in Nanjing for a year. As Nanjing doesn’t have any other super tall skyscrapers the Zifeng Tower was always a prominent feature in the Nanjing skyline.
Zifeng Tower was completed in 2010 and has 89 floors. It is located near the beautiful Xuanwu Lake (玄武湖 xuánwǔ hú).
This was actually the cheapest skyscraper to build on our list of tallest buildings in China, coming in at a 375 million USD. That might sound like a lot but not when you compare it to some of the others, such as the International Commerce Centre which cost a staggering 3.8 billion USD!
Tallest Buildings in China – #11 to #15
Another listing for the ever expanding Shenzhen, we have the KK100.
Formerly known as the Kingkey 100 I think we can all see why they changed the name…
This 100 floor building was completed in 2011.
It was the tallest building in Shenzhen until it was overtaken by the Ping An Finance Centre.
#12 Guangzhou International Finance Centre
The Guangzhou International Finance Centre is the shorter other half of the Guangzhou Twin Towers.
It is also referred to as the West Tower. Building work began in 2005 and was completed in 2010.
As of March 2018 it is the world’s tallest building with a rooftop helipad at at a height of 439 metres.
#13 Wuhan Centre
Construction of the Wuhan Centre started in 2011 and was completed in 2019.
At 438 metres it is currently the tallest completed building in Wuhan.
However, work has already started on an even taller skyscraper: the Wuhan Greenland Centre.
The new Wuhan Greenland Centre to be 476 metres tall, though originally planned to be 636 metres tall which would have taken the number one spot. However, due to airspace restrictions it had to be re-planned.
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#14 Dongguan International Trade Centre 1
Completed in 2020 the Dongguan International Trade Centre 1 is the newest building on our list.
This is another skyscraper that has been built in one of China’s lesser known cities, Dongguang is in Guangdong Province.
Construction on the skyscraper began in 2014, so it took a total of six years to complete.
The top of the tower is crowned with a lantern commemorating the legendary spot where fireflies once gathered around a banyan tree to guide fishermen home from the sea.
#15 Jin Mao Tower
Following on from the newest skyscraper in China on our list we have the oldest, the Jin Mao Tower in Shanghai.
This skyscraper was built from 1999 until 2007.
It contains the Grand Hyatt Shanghai Hotel which was the highest hotel in the world when it was first completed.
Two Tallest Towers in China
It’s also worth mentioning the two tallest towers in China as well, as they’re both pretty iconic.
#1 Canton Tower
The Canton Tower stands at an impressive height of 600 metres. When it was first completed in 2010 it was the tallest tower in the world. But it was quickly overtaken in 2011 by the Tokyo Skytree which reaches a height of 634 metres!
Currently it is now the second tallest tower and the fourth tallest free standing structure in the world.
Originally in 2009 a competition was held to name the tower and Haixin Tower (海心塔 hǎi xīn tǎ) lit. “Tower in the Sea” was chosen.
However, people unfamiliar with the city’s history found this name obscure.
Instead, locals referred to the tower by nicknames such as “Slim Waist” (小蛮腰 xiǎo mán yāo) or due to its flashing lights “Epilepsy” (羊巅峰 yáng diānfēng) 😂.
in 2010 the name was reconsidered and Canton Tower was chosen instead, personally I think the nicknames are better!
#2 Oriental Pearl Tower
The second tallest tower in China is the iconic Oriental Pearl Tower in Shanghai.
I’m sure that everyone is familiar with this tower which features predominantly in the Shanghai skyline which can bee seen from the Bund.
This is by far the oldest structure on our list, being completed from 1991- 1995. From 1994 – 2007 it was actually the tallest structure in China, but was then overtaken by the Shanghai World Financial Centre.
Bonus – Tallest Building in Taiwan and Singapore
Taiwan – Taipei 101
Taipei 101 is definitely one of the most iconic buildings in Taiwan.
Taipei 101 opened on 31 December 2004 to celebrate New Years Eve.
This building actually held the number one spot as the world’s tallest until 2010 when the Burj Khalifa in Dubai was completed.
Singapore – Guoco Tower
The last building we’ll be looking at is the tallest building in Singapore: the Guoco Tower.
With a height of only 290 metres, this is much shorter than any of the tallest buildings in China. This is because in Singapore there is normally a height restriction of 280 metres, but an exception was made for this building.
Perhaps, a lot lesser known than some of the other architectural sights in Singapore such as the Marina Bay Sands or Gardens by the Bay, it is still an impressive sight. In fact it actually won an architecture award in 2014.
Tallest Buildings in China – FAQs
What is the tallest building in China?
The tallest building in China is the Shanghai tower which is 632 metres tall.
What is the tallest building in Shanghai?
The tallest building in Shanghai is the Shanghai tower which is 632 metres tall.
What is the tallest building in Beijing?
The tallest building in Beijing is China Zun which is 528 metres.
What is the tallest building in Taiwan?
The tallest building in Taiwan is Taipei 101 which is 509.2 metres tall.
What is the tallest building in Hong Kong?
The tallest building in Hong Kong is the International Commerce Centre which is 484 metres tall.
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