The company seeking to build a record-breaking "prefab" skyscraper in Changsha insisted the project was proceeding as planned, despite mainland media reports that it lacked necessary approvals.
Broad Group spokeswoman Zhu Linfang disputed a Xinhua report that the company's plan to build the world's tallest building in just seven months had not received approval from Hunan's Department of Housing and Urban-Rural Development.
The Xinhua report noted that no work was taking place at the site of the 838-metre Sky City following a ground-breaking ceremony on Saturday, raising doubts about whether the project could be completed by April.
Video: Advertisement for Changsha's Sky City
"We have obtained all necessary government approval as the project progressed from one stage to another. Everything we do is legal and approved by the government," Zhu said, adding that the company expected the state news agency to "correct its mistake".
As of last night, Xinhua had not amended its report, which also quoted anonymous sources from Hunan University as saying that the project had not undergone vigorous safety and environmental assessments.
Mainland media organisations were overwhelmingly hostile to the Sky City project, which was widely derided as a wasteful "face project" and part of what was described as the mainland's rush to build skyscrapers. The project's design using factory-made modules did, however, win some support from architects.
The Xiaoxiang Morning Post, a newspaper based in Changsha, yesterday removed a report from its website saying that the project had been suspended by local authorities due to a lack of proper paperwork.
"We have not received any notification or hint by the government that the project has been or would be suspended," Zhu said. "Everything is going on as planned. This is a very large and serious project. We couldn't have proceeded so far without approval and backing from the city and provincial authorities."
Some critics of the project question whether the benefits can justify its projected cost of nine billion yuan (HK$11.3 billion).