Chinese backing sought for flying car and sky city projects

PUBLISHED : Monday, 21 July, 2014, 3:18am
UPDATED : Monday, 21 July, 2014, 3:18am


Tidal energy is not the only new technology or outlandish project whose proponents have sought support from investors, the government and the public on the mainland to help bankroll its commercialisation.

Massachusetts-based Terrafugia said it was seeking to raise US$30 million from partners on the mainland to help fund its plan to put its flying car on the streets and in the air by 2016.

Its "Transition" vehicle can be transformed from a car to an aircraft by unfolding its wings within a minute.

It has received some US$30 million in pre-orders for the car priced at US$279,000 each, despite uncertainty over when the mainland will open up its airspace to private jets, which brings substantial risks to would-be investors.

Equally intriguing is a plan by privately controlled air-conditioning systems manufacturer Broad Group, to build what it claims would be the world's tallest building within seven months.

The Changsha, Hunan province-based firm last July broke ground on a planned 838-metre, 202-storey building that will consist of 2,558 apartments of 60 to 90 square metres each. It was supposed to have been completed by April this year and house some 30,000 people.

With a construction budget of nine billion yuan (HK$11.3 billion), a fraction of that of other super skyscrapers, the company said its "Sky-city" project could be built quickly because 90 per cent of its building materials will be pre-fabricated by its 20,000 workers.

Broad Group also claimed the building would be able to withstand earthquakes with magnitude of up to 9 on the Richter scale, and will be more energy-efficient than other skyscrapers.

Chairman Zhang Yue said the firm did not use bank credit to fund its development, but he did not rule out getting bank loans to finance the "Sky-city" project.