As part of our ongoing series exploring China’s rapidly-expanding economy, we produced a case study on Urban Growth in China and our Satellite Manufacturing Index (SMI) is published three times a week to give you the most up-to-date and reliable indicator of Chinese industrial activity. This week, we’ll focus on the artificial islands that China is building in the South China Sea and how our ‘Sand Wall Index’ measures and tracks their growth.
Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia and the Philippines all lay claim to various islands, atolls and cays in the South China Sea, while both China (PRC) and Taiwan (ROC) claim 90% of the entire sea as their own. Since late 2013, China has further asserted its claim by building seven new islands in the Spratlys and the Paracels, using hundreds of dredges and barges. They have pumped sand from the sea floor, ground up coral and dumped gravel and rock on top of submerged reefs to build up these artificial islands, later sealing them with concrete, paving with roads and building permanent infrastructure.