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South China Mall

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Title: South China Mall  
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Subject: Pearl River Delta, List of shopping malls in China, The Dubai Mall, Golden Resources Mall, Developments in Dubai, Downtown Dubai
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South China Mall

Artist's rendering of the New South China Mall; January 2009
One of 2000+ empty retail spaces in New South China Mall, February 2010
Empty walkways in the mall, February 2010

New South China Mall (Chinese: 新华南MALL; pinyin: Xinhuánán MALL) in Dongguan, China is the largest mall in the world based on gross leasable area, and ranked second in total area to the Dubai Mall.[1] However, it is largely vacant. Unlike other "dead malls", which have been characterized by the departure of tenants, the New South China Mall has been 99% vacant since its 2005 opening as very few merchants have ever signed up.[2]


Dongguan, with a population in excess of 10 million, is located in southern China's Guangdong province, east of the province's largest city, Guangzhou. The mall was built on land formerly used for farming,[3] in the Wanjiang District of the city. The project was spearheaded by Hu Guirong (Alex Hu[3]), who became a billionaire in the instant noodle industry.[2][4]

The mall contains sufficient space for as many as 2,350 stores[5] in approximately 659,612 square metres (7,100,000 sq ft) of leasable space[1] and 892,000 square metres (9,600,000 sq ft) of total area.[6]

The mall has seven zones modeled on international cities, nations and regions, including Amsterdam, Paris, Rome, Venice, Egypt, the Caribbean, and California.[6] Features include a 25-metre (82 ft) replica of the Arc de Triomphe,[6] a replica of Venice's St Mark's bell tower,[2] a 2.1-kilometre (1.3 mi) canal with gondolas,[6] and a 553-metre (1,814 ft) indoor-outdoor roller coaster.[7]

Since its opening in 2005, the mall has suffered from a severe lack of occupants. Much of the retail space has remained empty, with over 99% of the stores vacant.[2][8] The only occupied areas of the mall are near the entrance where several Western fast food chains are located and a parking structure repurposed as a kart racing track.[9] A planned Shangri-La Hotel has not been realised.

There are many flaws to the mall's location. The mall is located in the suburbs of Dongguan, where it is practically accessible only by car or bus, rendering it unreachable to a large percentage of the public. Dongguan does not have an airport, nor are there highways adjacent to the mall's location.[3]

Originally called "South China Mall", the center was redubbed as "New South China Mall, Living City" in September 2007.[10][11]

The mall was formerly owned by Dongguan Sanyuan Yinghui Investment & Development (东莞市三元盈晖投资发展有限公司),[6] Hu Guirong's company, but a controlling interest in the mall has been sold to the Founders Group, a division of Beijing University.[2]

Academy Award-nominated documentary filmmaker Sam Green made a short film about the South China Mall called "Utopia Part 3: the World's Largest Shopping Mall." The film premiered at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival and was broadcast on PBS's documentary series POV.

See also


  1. ^ a b Van Riper, Tom (2008-01-18). "The World's Largest Malls". Forbes. Retrieved 2009-09-20. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Donohue, Michael (June 12, 2008). "Mall of misfortune". The National (Abu Dhabi Media Company). Retrieved March 3, 2010. 
  3. ^ a b c Utopia, Part 3: The World’s Largest Shopping Mall, August 18, 2009, Retrieved February 9, 2010
  4. ^ David Barboza (May 25, 2005). "China, New Land of Shoppers, Builds Malls on Gigantic Scale". The New York Times. Retrieved February 9, 2010. 
  5. ^ "区域规划". Retrieved 2010-02-16. 
  6. ^ a b c d e Matthew Benjamin and Nipa Piboontanasawat (April 17, 2007). "China's mall glut reflects an unbalanced economy". The New York Times. Retrieved February 8, 2010. 
  7. ^ "The Not-So-Great Mall of China: Welcome to the world's largest (and loneliest) shopping centre". Daily Mail. October 29, 2009. Retrieved February 9, 2010. 
  8. ^ Donohue, Michael (2008-06-12). "Mall of misfortune". The National. Abu Dhabi Media Company. Retrieved 2008-07-17. 
  9. ^ Jo Steele (October 29, 2009). "Welcome to the loneliest shopping mall in the world". Metro. Retrieved February 8, 2010. 
  10. ^ "华南MALL"变脸"突围 昨起变更为新华南MALL·生活城". Nanfang Daily (in Chinese). September 20, 2009. Retrieved February 15, 2010. 
  11. ^ "Upcoming Events at the New South China Mall". Retrieved 2009-01-15. 

External links

  • Multilingual portal for official website
  • English presentation of official website
  • Utopia, Part 3, PBS documentary on South China Mall, August 18, 2009. Note: this documentary is actively filtered to prevent non-US visitors from accessing the content.
  • Utopia, Part 3, PBS documentary on South China Mall, August 18, 2009. Note: this is the same documentary uploaded by official producer and can be watched from everywhere.
  • Utopia, Part 3 on Sam Green's website

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