Container Homes In Chengdu, 18 SQM, Only 6 RMB Rent Per Day

A row of "container homes" in Chengdu, China that cost less than 1 USD to rent per day.

2010 December 16th, next to Qingpi Avenue in Wenjiang District of Sichuan in Chengdu province, "snail homes" created out of containers are preparing to receive tenants. These kind of inhabitable containers are 18 square meters large, can be moved any time, and are even resistant to earthquakes.

From QQ & Mop:

Container “snail homes” appear in Chengdu, 6 yuan per day rent

A young Chinese girl sticks her head out the window of a container home, which costs 6 RMB per day to rent, or 10,000 RMB to purchase.

The live-in containers are steel structures. Inside and out are metal sheets, sandwiched between them are 5 centimeters of flame-retardant foam, forming the walls of the container. The four edges of the wall are sealed and fixed with metal, all size sides welded together, and with a tiled floor, an 18 square meter small home is built.

The inside of a new container home, metal sheet walls and a tiled floor.

Beside every container is a convenient water source, and this reporter saw that one floor even had a resident cooking inside. A worker named Yong Jianwei said: "There are a lot of people living here and it isn't cold inside, and what more, the place is close to the work site, so it is very convenient."

A man applies finishing touches to a container home in Chengdu.

For habitable homes, the biggest advantage is that the price is cheap. A 3*6 meter container's rent is 6 yuan/day, sale price is 10,000 yuan, and can even be customized.

A young girl on a cell phone standing at the window to one of Chengdu's container homes.

The first place where this kind of container homes appeared was Shenzhen and at present, Shanghai, Zhengzhou, Changsha, and many other cities also already have them.

Comments from QQ:


Are there still any available for rent? I too want to rent one, bring it over to Guangzhou to live in…


I wonder what the noise-insulation is like?


Comrade, hello! We are from the chengguan department. This [home] of your’s is considered an illegal building and in accordance with relevant regulations, you are fined 5000 yuan, and are hereby ordered to dismantle/demolish it within 2 days!


No one wants to live in containers, no one wants to live in tunnels, but it is because housing prices are too high, because this world is full of unfairness!


The ordinary common people can now only live within containers. The [government] leadership ought to reflect on this.


Other than sadness, [I] do not have any other feeling/impression.


The cost is too expensive. If they were cheaper, I’d want 10 of them, to rent to those workers who come from out of town to work [migrant workers]. Those workers only make 1000-2000 per month here, and rent is several hundred kuai [yuan, RMB].


Uh oh, now the chengguan are going to come “manage” it~~~~


With pork being 12 kuai per half kg these days and this house is 6 kuai per day in rent, what kind of sound insulation do you expect?????


Seeing this news, I feel I am really blessed, having both a house and a car, though this results in me becoming a house [mortgage] slave and a car [loan] slave, owning a tone of money. We post-80s generation are only here to repay debts. Fuck.

The reason why sound insulation is important. Personals @ chinaSMACK.

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  • gongjiao

    i want to rent all of them at once so no one else can take advantage of this great deal. mine mine mine!!

    • Container speculation, the next big money industry in China?

  • jaam

    It reminded me of this brilliant song from the nineteen eighties.

    By day we’re dormant
    Because it’s too hot outside now
    Nocturnal notions (as we leave or cocoons)
    Antennae tuned to inhuman vibrations
    Shaping the cities, of the world to come

    I listen to the sound, the endless construction
    Inside the termite mound

    I walked past the nursery
    All the children have gone now
    (The rules we taught them, are what they’ve become)
    Move past the people (they make me feel so indifferent)
    Serving their purpose
    It’s their purpose to serve

    A thousand lights from this honeycombed labyrinth
    These winding tunnels, lead to my place of desire
    Bars and bazaars of self-gratification
    Live to consume,
    Live for momentary pleasures

    I listen to the sound, the endless construction
    Inside the termite mound.

    • Alikese

      A more applicable song from the 1940s:

      You load sixteen tons, what do you get?
      Another day older and deeper in debt.
      Saint Peter, don’t you call me, ’cause I can’t go;
      I owe my soul to the company store.

      • wogzi

        Little boxes on the hillside,
        Little boxes made of ticky tacky,
        Little boxes on the hillside,
        Little boxes all the same.
        There’s a green one and a pink one
        And a blue one and a yellow one,
        And they’re all made out of ticky tacky
        And they all look just the same.

        And the people in the houses
        All went to the university,
        Where they were put in boxes
        And they came out all the same,
        And there’s doctors and lawyers,
        And business executives,
        And they’re all made out of ticky tacky
        And they all look just the same.

        And they all play on the golf course
        And drink their martinis dry,
        And they all have pretty children
        And the children go to school,
        And the children go to summer camp
        And then to the university,
        Where they are put in boxes
        And they come out all the same.

        And the boys go into business
        And marry and raise a family
        In boxes made of ticky tacky
        And they all look just the same.
        There’s a green one and a pink one
        And a blue one and a yellow one,
        And they’re all made out of ticky tacky
        And they all look just the same.

        • nice song of the article,

          • gongjiao

            yeah but can we stick to your format of not including the lyrics please

          • Song of the article,

            Little Boxes
            Malvina Reynolds


  • Alex

    I would rent one and all the others around it, beacuse if in a normal aparment I can hear everything the neighbour does.. I don’t even want to imagine how would it be in those boxes.

  • Can’t even imagine how hot it feels inside such container in the middle of the summer.

    • Alex

      Or cold like now -_-^^

  • BrotherRiverCrab

    I wonder if these Chinese trailer parks are susceptible to tornadoes and UFO sightings/abductions as their counterparts in North America.

  • Curren$y

    So cheap! I’d love to rent them and throw one huge house party

  • Devin

    only a sigh~~How to make us trust you, beloved goverment?

  • fireworks

    dogboxes for the common people? Everyone wants to leave in a 3 star apartment or a decent terraced house with balcony to put a shanzhai satellite dish.

  • Peter

    It is not “How can we trust you beloved government” It is more like :” How can we trust Us for letting the situation get to this point.”

  • pervertt

    Plenty of criticism about humans having to live in dog boxes. But I prefer to see container housing as the ultimate in resource recycling. All over the world, there are zillions of shipping containers that do little but to gather rust. Most originate from China, factory to the world.

    Some of the world’s best architects have sought to find a housing reuse of these containers. This has been going on for the last 2 decades or so. The conversion process usually involves removing the fronts and backs of the container and cutting out holes in side panels for any windows. The most valuable part of the container – its strong steel frame – is retained. The containers can be stacked, insulated, lined with conventional wall and floor claddings and fitted with services.

    In Melbourne, a medium rise apartment building called the Little Hero Apartments has recently been constructed. Yes, all out of shipping containers. It is a brilliant looking building and shows just what can be accomplished with good architectural brains and less prejudice regarding acceptable forms of housing.

  • Jing

    Actually if you can run plumbing and electricity to the units, they are very affordable homes. 4 units stacked on top of 4 units gives you 144 square meters to work with, thats about 1500 square feet which is the size of a modest American home. Two of the bottom units can be consolidated into a living area with one unit can be made into a kitchen and the other a bathroom. The upper four units can be one bedroom each.

    The base cost is around 80000 yuan which is well within the means of most Chinese families.

    The only problem is the cost of the land these homes will be placed on.

    • Don’t know about new development, but this could be a boon for those villages looking to upgrade or replace their present structures – especially if these units can be plumbed and wired

  • Joe Gway

    Don’t worry, the developers and the corrupt officials who are in their pockets will put an end to this before the lose too much more money.

  • xfiles

    Saw this story earlier on on, coincidence???

  • oscar

    one amazing thing i find in US is the wall here is as thin as these container, I can know exactly where my upstairs is walking on, the good part is there is an emergency I can even break the wall out with my foot

  • tickyul

    Same way in The United States Of ameritard, I live in a real crappy rooming house (my room is 10×10) that costs 500us.

  • Meh

    What if your mobile unit is accidentally picked up like a garbage container?

  • JM

    Those containers are nicer than the apartment they give us foreigners! I want to buy one and move in! $1 a day? I’m paying $500 a month for a one-bedroom crap apartment here in Shenzhen…if only they were available here!

  • Cyrus Howell

    I’ve seen a lot worse in the old days.

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