Megaprojects: 10 tallest buildings in Asia - in pictures
Build a skyscraper in Asia and it won't stay top for long
When they opened in August 1999, the Petronas Towers were not only the tallest buildings in the world, but the first outside the United States to hold the title since 1885.
Their distinctive architecture, based on Islamic patterns, made them an instant icon. They featured in heist films such as Entrapment, starring Sean Connery and Catherine Zeta-Jones, and as the scene for daredevil exploits, including the world's highest base jump and a climb without ropes by Alain 'Spiderman' Robert.
The 452-metre twins became an unmistakable symbol of Kuala Lumpur.
And today? Such is the pace of skyscraper building in Asia, that the Petronas Towers do not even make it to the current top 10.
At 508 metres, Tapei 101, which took the world title from Kuala Lumpur in 2004, still clings to a place in Asia’s top 10 but has since dropped to seventh.
Asia is now the place where you build fast and stand tall. Seven of world’s tallest buildings are there, five of which are in China.
Mainland China, including Hong Kong, also claims seven of the top 10 tallest buildings in Asia, but there are also places for Taiwan, South Korea and Vietnam.
All are taller than the Empire State Building, as is the 634-metre high Tokyo Skytree, which is classified as a tower rather than a building as its primary use, as is Guangzhou’s 604-metre Canton Tower.
Collectively they are a powerful symbol of rising Asia and the region’s tiger economies.
When it opens next year, the 118-storey, 644-metre Merdeka 188, also in Kuala Lumpur, will become the second tallest in the world. Fifteen out the the world’s tallest buildings under construction are in Asia – 12 of them in China.
When they are done, the Petronas Towers will barely make the top 30.
Updated: October 7, 2020 09:54 AM