Quick – where is the world’s largest shopping mall? Nope, it is not Mall of America. Nor is it our very own West Edmonton Mall. The largest mall in the world is Beijing’s massive Golden Resources Mall, which measures a mind-boggling six million square feet. It opened last October, and is still growing:
How big is six million square feet? That mall, which is expected to cost $1.3 billion when completed, spans the length of six football fields and easily exceeds the floor space of the Pentagon, which at 3.7 million square feet is the world’s largest office building. It is a single, colossal five-story building – with rows and rows of shops stacked on top of more rows and rows of shops – so large that it is hard to navigate among the 1,000 stores and the thousands of shoppers.
As impressive as the mall is, there are larger malls on the way for China. The South China Mall is expected to be three times the size of Mall of America when completed.
Already, four shopping malls in China are larger than the Mall of America. Two are bigger than the West Edmonton Mall in Alberta, which just surrendered its status as the world’s largest shopping mall to an enormous complex in Beijing. And by 2010, China is expected to be home to at least 7 of the world’s 10 largest shopping malls.
Not to be outdone, the Ghermezian’s are planning to expand Mall of America, and have two ten-million-square-foot malls in the works in China, called Mall of China and Triple Five Wenzhou Mall. I wonder if there are plans to expand WEM too?
While it might seem like a needless game of “I’m bigger than you!”, taking note of these malls in China is important. For one thing, it certainly casts doubt on the western-held view that the Chinese don’t have much disposable income. Perhaps not as a whole, but there are obviously enough wealthy Chinese to support such massive shopping malls. And the outlook must be positive enough to be planning the construction of even more malls in the country.
It’s also interesting to see that China is sort of following in America’s footsteps. Owning an automobile has become possible and extremely desirable in China, and now shopping in gigantic malls has hopped the Pacific too. Makes one wonder what else the Chinese do like the Americans.
Read: New York Times