Want to live in a brand-new apartment for just RMB18 per month? It's possible, in the latest housing trend to hit China: shipping-container apartments.
While such apartments are common in the large cities along the coast and in Shenzhen, where there are an estimated 50,000 to 60,000 shipping container apartment units, they've only been in Chengdu for about a month. The first batch were set up along Wenjiang's Qingpai Dadao.
Each container is a standard-issue 3m x 6m in size and weighs in at 2.6 tons. Some are stacked on top of each other to create "two-story" apartments. Each unit features two windows and a door, through which a telephone cord runs.
The apartments have also been furnished with bunk beds—five per unit—as well as flourescent lights, and air conditioning units. Upstairs, there is a balcony illuminated by the street lamps.
The bathroom facilities behind the apartment is equipped with a shower, and the first floor has cooking facilities.
"Each apartment is its own unit," explained worker Xie Hongbin. "Any time and place one is needed, it can just be picked up and moved with a crane." It takes about half an hour to take down the flats, and they can be set up again within an afternoon.
Their steel frames make them virtually indestructible against all weather elements and earthquakes. Double walls with five centimeters of fire-resistant insulation in between gives them additional durability.
"With a lot of people in the apartment, it's not cold," said worker Yong Jianwei. "And it's so close to our work site which makes it very convenient."
The container apartments are located directly in front of the high rises that are under construction. The white containers are inconspicuous to passersby, identifiable only by the rental phone number written on their exteriors.
We can expect to see more and more as the company who sets up these apartments expects the region's migrant worker population to increase.