We have all heard about the rapid development of China. However, it has many darker sides to it, and one of them are dingzihu – 'nail houses'. When property developers are buying, well, property for a new mall or a housing project, some people refused to budge. In many cases, the developers don't wait for them to do so.
So instead they build the project around the house! The house then sticks out like a sore thumb - or a nail, I guess - which gives rise to the term. Some of them definitely belong to people who are understandably unwilling to leave their ancestral homes. Some other most definitely belong to some guy waiting for the development that's sure to rise around the building to jack up it's price. And I bet some people just want to live in the middle of a mall!