Engineers inspect Chinese skyscraper after shaking triggers panic in Shenzhen

The 300-metre SEG Plaza began swaying on Tuesday, prompting people inside and those on the streets to flee

Engineers inspected a skyscraper in southern China on Wednesday, a day after it triggered panic when it suddenly began shaking.

The 300-metre SEG Plaza in the southern city of Shenzhen near Hong Kong began swaying in the early afternoon on Tuesday, prompting people in the building and those on the streets below to flee.

Emergency management officials quickly ruled out an earthquake as the cause of the wobble in the tech centre's Futian district. They said no further movement was detected and experts found "no safety abnormalities in the main structure and surrounding environment of the building".

The building had stopped shaking by the time people were evacuated, state media reported, but the plaza remained sealed off.

Building collapses are not rare in China, where lax construction standards and breakneck urbanisation over recent decades led to buildings being erected in haste.

Poor construction standards are often linked to corruption among local officials, most recently after the collapse of a quarantine hotel in southern China last year.

A day after the building was evacuated, the US Consulate in nearby Guangzhou on Wednesday warned its citizens to avoid the area surrounding the tower, warning of "inadequate information to assess the safety risks".

Social media lit up after Tuesday's incident, with hashtags on the Twitter-like Weibo platform related to the shaking garnering more than 780 million views and hundreds of thousands of comments, with many users worried about construction standards.

Completed in 2000, the tower is home to a major electronics market as well as various offices in the central business district of Shenzhen, a sprawling metropolis of more than 13 million people.

The building is named after the semiconductor and electronics manufacturer Shenzhen Electronics Group, whose offices are in the complex.

Updated: May 19, 2021 03:15 PM

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