Developers in China are going ahead with the construction of a 632m tower in Shanghai that is being called a symbol of hope in a time of financial crisis.

The 14.8bn yuan (€1.7bn) Shanghai Tower is expected to be completed by 2014 in the city's Pudong district.

It will be China's new tallest building.

'At a time of financial crisis, this kind of mega-project will have a much bigger positive impact on society than any regular-size infrastructure project,' Gu Jianping, president of the Shanghai Tower Construction and Development Company told a news conference.

'It will help boost people's confidence which has been battered by the recent financial turmoil.'

Planning for the project began 15 years ago and the tower is going ahead as scheduled despite the current economic climate, he told reporters. Construction workers are set to break ground tomorrow.

The Chinese scroll-shaped glass tower has an innovative double-layer 'glass skin' that creates a 128-storey atrium between the glass enclosed offices and the tower's outer surface.

The tower is being built next to China's current tallest building, the 492m bottle opener-shaped Shanghai World Financial Centre, which opened in September and is owned by Japanese developer Minoru Mori.

The Shanghai Tower is being built by a consortium of three state companies.

The partners are the Shanghai-listed Lujiazui Finance and Trade Zone Development Co Ltd, Shanghai Chengtou Corp, a city government-backed conglomerate, and the Shanghai Construction Group, one of China's largest construction contractors.

Mr Gu said they were confident about financing with 5.4bn yuan in registered capital and strong government backing, but he declined to give further details.

He said the project would leave Shanghai well-positioned for the global economy's recovery and starting construction now presented opportunities because raw material and energy costs had fallen sharply.