New South China Mall

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New South China Mall
Portion of empty mall area, February 2010
Location Dongguan, China
Opening date 2005
Owner Dongguan Sanyuan Yinghui Investment & Development
No. of stores and services 47 (20 planned) (Total spaces: 2350, Unoccupied: 2303)[1]
Total retail floor area 659,612 m2
Artist's rendering of the New South China Mall; January 2009
One of 2000+ empty retail spaces in New South China Mall, January 2009
Empty walkways in the mall, February 2010

New South China Mall (Chinese: 新华南Mall; pinyin: Xin huá nán Mall) in Dongguan, China is the largest shopping mall in the world based on gross leasable area, and ranked second in total area to The Dubai Mall.[2] 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.[3] Various Western media outlets have done stories regarding the mall's vacancy.[4] The property owners placing signs depicting various Western retailers; however no evidence of these retailers opening stores in the location is proven.


Dongguan, with a population in excess of 10 million, is located in southern China's Guangdong province, about 50 km east of the province's largest city, Guangzhou. The mall was built on land formerly used for farming,[5] in the Wanjiang District of the city. The project was spearheaded by Hu Guirong (Alex Hu[5]), who became a billionaire in the instant noodle industry.[3][6]

The mall contains sufficient space for as many as 2,350 stores[7] in approximately 659,612 square metres (7,100,000 sq ft) of leasable space[2] and 892,000 square metres (9,600,000 sq ft) of total area.[8]

The mall has seven zones modeled on international cities, nations and regions, including Amsterdam, Paris, Rome, Venice, Egypt, the Caribbean, and California.[8] Features include a 25-metre (82 ft) replica of the Arc de Triomphe,[8] a replica of Venice's St Mark's bell tower,[3] a 2.1-kilometre (1.3 mi) canal with gondolas,[8] and a 553-metre (1,814 ft) indoor-outdoor roller coaster.[9]

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.[3][10] 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.[11] 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.[5]

Originally called "South China Mall", the centre was redubbed as "New South China Mall, Living City" in September 2007.[12][13]

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),[8] Hu Guirong's company, but a controlling interest in the mall has been sold to the Founders Group, a division of Beijing University.[3]

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.

In 2015, CNN reported that the mall was filled with shops and many of the empty storefronts were being renovated, in an attempt to target the city's middle class.[14]

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b Van Riper, Tom (2008-01-18). "The World's Largest Malls". Forbes. Retrieved 2009-09-20. 
  3. ^ a b c d e Donohue, Michael (2008-06-12). "Mall of misfortune". The National (Abu Dhabi Media Company). Archived from the original on 2011-05-01. Retrieved 2010-01-12. Location: Dongguan, China Year Opened: 2005 Gross Leasable Area: 7.1 million square feet 
  4. ^ "China's Ghost Cities | Current Affairs | Dateline | SBS". Retrieved 2015-04-14. 
  5. ^ a b c Utopia, Part 3: The World’s Largest Shopping Mall, August 18, 2009, Retrieved February 9, 2010
  6. ^ David Barboza (May 25, 2005). "China, New Land of Shoppers, Builds Malls on Gigantic Scale". The New York Times. Retrieved February 9, 2010. 
  7. ^ "区域规划". Retrieved 2010-02-16. 
  8. ^ 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. 
  9. ^ "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. 
  10. ^ Donohue, Michael (2008-06-12). "Mall of misfortune". The National. Abu Dhabi Media Company. Retrieved 2008-07-17. 
  11. ^ Jo Steele (October 29, 2009). "Welcome to the loneliest shopping mall in the world". Metro. Retrieved February 8, 2010. 
  12. ^ "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. 
  13. ^ "Upcoming Events at the New South China Mall". Retrieved 2009-01-15. 
  14. ^ Nylander, Johann (28 April 2015). "Chinese 'ghost mall' back from the dead?". CNN. Retrieved 29 April 2015. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 23°2′15″N 113°43′14″E / 23.03750°N 113.72056°E / 23.03750; 113.72056