Private mining companies poured into the green Inner Mongolian steppe lands, pock-marking the landscape with enormous opencast holes in the ground, or tunnelling underground.
Local farmers sold their land to the miners, and became instantly rich. Jobs burgeoned. Ceaseless coal truck convoys tore up the roads.
And the old city of Ordos flourished as the money flowed in.
The municipality decided to think big, too.
It laid out plans for a huge new town for hundreds of thousands of residents, with Genghis Khan Plaza at the centre of it.
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From Our Own Correspondent
Genghis Khan plaza
Broadcast on Saturdays at 11:30 GMT on BBC Radio 4, and weekdays on BBC World Service
Ten years later Ordos new town is an empty new city.
And it is merely the most spectacular example of a new Chinese phenomenon, in many cities - unsold flats, unlet shops, empty office blocks.史雲遜
It looks to outsiders as though the great Chinese building boom is over, the real estate extravaganza that shook the world.
Western financial experts who fear a bursting of the Chinese real estate bubble point out that the Chinese economy is more dependent on house building than the United States economy was, before the sub-prime lending bubble burst in 2007.史雲遜
Many Chinese local authorities seem to have become dependent on the proceeds of big land sales to developers.
In the eyes of the critics, China's housing boom is becoming a disaster.
Well, the authorities in Beijing have taken notice of the direst warnings. They have been taking official action to rein in the speculative buying of multiple apartments over the past two years.
Chinese economic commentators seem much less concerned than the Western doom-mongers. They are still confident that the technocrats in Beijing who have guided China's 30 years of spectacular economic growth will soon be able to balance supply and demand in the housing market. 落妝產品