South China Mall

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South China Mall
Location Dongguan, China
Opening date 2005
Owner Founder Group formerly Dongguan Sanyuan Yinghui Investment & Development
No. of stores and services 47 (20 planned) (Total spaces: 2350, Unoccupied: 2303)[1]
Total retail floor area 659,611 m2
SPAR Hypermarket at New South China Mall
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: Xīn huá nán; Jyutping: San1 waa4 nam4) in Dongguan, China is the largest shopping mall in the world when measured in terms of gross leasable area, and second in terms of total area to The Dubai Mall (which has extensive non-shopping space including a zoo, a hotel complex and a theme park).[2] South China Mall opened in 2005 and for more than 10 years it was mostly vacant as few merchants ever signed up, leading it to be dubbed a dead mall.[3] In 2015 a CNN story reported that the mall had begun to attract tenants after extensive renovations and remodeling, though large portions remained vacant.[4]


With over a total area of 892,000 square metres (9,600,000 sq ft),[5] and almost 660,000 square metres (7,100,000 sq ft) of leasable space[2] sufficient for as many as 2,350 stores,[6] the mall was built on former farmlands[7] in the Wanjiang District of Dongguan in southern coastal China. The project was spearheaded by Hu Guirong (Alex Hu[7]), who became a billionaire in the instant noodle industry.[3][8] The mall was owned by Dongguan Sanyuan Yinghui Investment & Development (东莞市三元盈晖投资发展有限公司),[5] Hu Guirong's company, but a controlling interest in the mall was later sold to Founder Group, a division of Peking University.[3]

The mall has seven zones modeled on international cities, nations and regions, including Amsterdam, Paris, Rome, Venice, Egypt, the Caribbean, and California. Features include a 25-metre (82 ft) replica of the Arc de Triomphe,[5] a replica of Venice's St Mark's bell tower,[3] a 2.1-kilometre (1.3 mi) canal with gondolas,[5] and a 553-metre (1,814 ft) indoor-outdoor roller coaster.[9]

After opening in 2005, the mall suffered from a severe lack of occupants. Targeted initially to an affluent market, Dongguan is itself mainly a city of poorly paid migrant laborers who failed to respond to all the attractions the mall had to offer.[4] Much of the retail space remained empty, with over 99% of the stores still vacant in 2008.[3][10] The only occupied areas were near the entrance where several Western fast food chains are located and a parking structure re-purposed as a kart racing track.[11] A planned Shangri-La Hotel was not realised. Filmmaker Sam Green made a short film about the South China Mall called Utopia Part 3: the World's Largest Shopping Mall which premiered at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival and was broadcast on PBS's documentary series POV.

Originally called "South China Mall", the centre was redubbed as "New South China Mall, Living City" in September 2007.[12][13] The 2007 makeover was orchestrated by PKU Resources, which took over the property from the original owner Hu Guirong in Dec. 2006.[14]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2007-08-09. Retrieved 2007-08-11. 
  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. ^ a b Nylander, Johann (28 April 2015). "Chinese 'ghost mall' back from the dead?". CNN. Retrieved 29 April 2015. 
  5. ^ a b c d Matthew Benjamin and Nipa Piboontanasawat (April 17, 2007). "China's mall glut reflects an unbalanced economy". The New York Times. Retrieved February 8, 2010. 
  6. ^ "区域规划". Retrieved 2010-02-16. 
  7. ^ a b Utopia, Part 3: The World’s Largest Shopping Mall, August 18, 2009, Retrieved February 9, 2010
  8. ^ David Barboza (May 25, 2005). "China, New Land of Shoppers, Builds Malls on Gigantic Scale". The New York Times. Retrieved February 9, 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. ^ "Wan China Times, Taiwan". 

External links[edit]

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