Source AP ©

China finally completes its highest building in Shanghai

China's tallest building is slicing through Shanghai's hazy, skyscraper-studded skyline - a new trophy built by Japanese property tycoon Minoru Mori.

The 101-story Shanghai World Financial Center, a 492-meter (1,614 foot) wedge-shaped tower with a rectangular hole at the very top, was topped out on Friday as its last beam was laid amid a drizzle that obscured the building's panoramic view of the winding Huangpu River and endless high rises.

In a city whose skyline evinces the belief "the taller the better," the building is bound to be a major tourist destination and landmark.

With China's economy growing nearly 12 percent a year and stock and real estate prices soaring, "The timing is just about the best it could be," Mori said Thursday.

"When I saw the building this morning, at its full height, I thought it's really beautiful. I think we've really succeeded," he told reporters at Shanghai's Jinmao Tower, a silver spire next door to the World Financial Center that at 1,381 feet (421 meters) was China's tallest building until now.

Mori's visions of a "vertical garden city" have transformed his hometown Tokyo's landscape with mammoth, mixed-use redevelopment projects such as Roppongi Hills, Ark Hills and Atago Green Hills.

The 115 billion yen (US$1 billion; EUR 720 million) Shanghai project by the developer's flagship Mori Building Co., due for completion in time for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, is a massive monument to the city's ambitions to reclaim its status as a key international center.

It's also evidence that despite the political tensions that flare up between China and Japan at regular intervals, business is business.

Mori acquired the land for the huge project, in the city's Lujiazui financial district, in 1994. Piling work began in 1997, and then halted for six years after the Asian financial crisis wiped out demand for new office space.

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