In the video below, Bloomberg’s Paul Allen visits the New South China Mall in Dongguan, China, on the southeast coast of the country, roughly midway between Guangzhou and Hong Kong.
Once heralded as “the largest mall in the world, bustling with customers,” the mall is now overwhelmingly desolate, just “floor upon floor of emptiness.” This is even on a Saturday, and even with a fully-operational theme park. The best way to boost foot traffic? Expand another 200,000 square meters, according to the mall’s owners. They plan for the development to ultimately reach over one million square meters of residential and retail space.
It’s already been about six years since the nearly-vacant mall opened… things are bound to turn around any day now.
You can see more details in the clip below, which came to our attention via The Mess That Greenspan Made’s post on a vast (and empty) shopping mall in China.
Rocky Vega is publisher of Agora Financial International, where he advances the growth of Agora Financial publishing enterprises outside of the US. Previously, he was publisher of The Daily Reckoning, and founding publisher of both UrbanTurf and RFID Update -- which he ran from Brazil, Chile, and Puerto Rico -- as well as associate publisher of FierceFinance. Rocky has an honors MS from the Stockholm School of Economics and an honors BA from Harvard University, where he served on the board of directors for Let?s Go Publications, Harvard Student Agencies, and The Harvard Advocate.
Even the mall’s owners/managers are unfamiliar with the local market, asking Paul Alan to come on a Saturday. Anyone remotely familiar with shopping patterns in Dongguan knows Sunday is the busiest shopping day, as most factories and offices are working at least a half day on Saturday and Sunday is the major day off work.
South China Mall is in the outskirts of town, too difficult to get to for most of the factory workers and local population. Even difficult to drive to until recently, as the roads aren’t very good from Dongguan center to the mall – very convoluted with a narrow 2 lane bridge that is quite frankly, not fun to drive on.
There are other smaller malls and shopping streets closer to town, an easy bus ride or short walk for most Dongguan residents, and on a Sunday they are so crowded you can barely move. Still, even in the in town malls, there is a lot of empty retail space. Area I lived in Dongguan, within a 10 minute walk there are 4 good sized malls, each with anchors such as Trust Mart, Vangaurd, Carrefour, and ParknShop. Thing is, all the anchors except Vanguard are crazy busy on a slow day. Easily accessible by bus/walk to a lot of residents in the east end of Dongguan.
It’s to be good to be true I can’t take my eyes off of you…
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