It was supposed to be the largest mall in the world – three times as large as the Mall of America in Minnesota (currently the largest in the U.S.). Scheduled for launch in 2005, in a Southern city of Dongguan, the New South China Mall was going to set a new “benchmark in the mall grandiosity” with space for over 2,300 stores catering to over 70,000 shoppers each day.
2005 came and went. The mall was built and launched. However, the stores and shoppers never quite materialized as projected. As of now, there are just under two dozen stores occupying the total area of 9.6 million square feet – putting the vacancy rate at over 99%! And even then, most of them are Western food chains like McDonalds, KFC and Pizza Hut who got the locations near the entrances.
The mall – designed to target the Chinese growing middle class who are getting more and more used to Western-style shopping – was certainly an ambitious undertaking. It was funded by a millionaire who made his fortune selling instant noodles in China. His team traveled the world for 2 years in search of ideas to make the mall unique. The end result was a mammoth of a mall that includes, among other things, a 25 metre replica of the Arc de Triomphe, a replica of Venice’s St Mark’s bell tower, a 2.1 kilometres canal with gondolas, and a 553-meter indoor-outdoor roller coaster as a part of an amusement park designed to keep the kids busy while the parents shop.
The developers still have a very positive outlook and are currently actively working on expanding it even further.
The Mall Outdoors
For the Kids