The US Consulate in Guangzhou has issued a security alert to all US citizens to avoid the SEG tower in Shenzhen after footage of the tower shaking. The tower is located in the Huaqiangbei area of Shenzhen, the fast-growing Chinese tech hub just across the border from Hong Kong.
At 984 feet, the SEG Plaza is one of the tallest skyscrapers in Shenzhen. The tower houses a large electronics market, as well as numerous offices. Several video clips posted to social media showed the building swaying back and forth. One clip purportedly filmed inside the building showed the interior shaking in a dramatic way. The building was evacuated shortly after the shaking started.
SEG Building in Huaqiang Bei #Shenzhen has been evacuated after the building started to shake today. Currently the reason is being investigated after it was confirmed that no #earthquake occured. pic.twitter.com/KwNZ1Ip12d— Shenzhen Pages (@ShenzhenPages) May 18, 2021
At one point, the skyscraper’s wobbling caused a near-stampede as people fled the area. Shouts and honking horns could be heard as residents, some periodically turning around to look at the skyscraper, fled. After everyone was evacuated, the building was sealed shut.
According to Bloomberg, tower owner Shenzhen Electronics Group said that tenants felt the building shake at 1231 local time Tuesday and building management immediately organized an evacuation. No signs of cracking on the ground or damaged curtain walls were detected, it said in a statement on its website.
Emergency management officials said in a statement that no earthquake was registered in the city today, and that relevant government agencies were looking into what caused the skyscraper to wobble. Shenzen has seen a boom in skyscraper construction over the last two decades as the number of buildings more than 150 meters tall has exploded to nearly 300. Given the haste to build new office space and housing, the notion that some short-cuts may have been taken seems possible.