The area quickly became known as the world’s factory, and it has been China’s manufacturing heartland ever since. And a future is perhaps the only thing the New South China Mall can hope for. I don't care what currency it's in. The project was an earmark in history, as it indicated an economic shift demonstrating that the Chinese have become a viable consumer culture in their own right. If this mall can be saved and made to prosper it would be a monumental symbol of what this country is capable of. Also, check out “Kangbashi, Ordos – Ghost City? I felt sympathy with the shoppers that never came: who would willingly endure such travail just to go hang out at a larger sized mall with a bunch of fake monuments and corny themes? 1.New South China Mall (Dongguan, China): 7.1 million square feet 2.SM Tianjin (Tianjin, China): 5.8 million square feet 3.Golden Resources Mall (Beijing, China): 6 million square feet There were fallow farm fields to my right and dusty rows of concrete shops and apartment blocks to my left. Yes, the researchers who conducted the feasibility study appear to have believed that people would come daily from these cities. That mall is really an expression of a giant entering a new world without any base to stand on. VBJ has written 3623 posts on Vagabond Journey. The much-publicized crowd of 200,000 plus people per day never materialized. Even people running the city buses seemed clueless as to how I could get there. Mr. Hu’s company spent over $1.3 billion in constructing the mall. Economic Ingenuity? It is the shopping center with the largest gross leasable area and comes second regarding the total area. South China Mall was opened in 2005 and for more than 10 years it was mostly vacant as few merchants ever signed up, leading it to be a ghost mall. In fact, this mall continues functioning as though it has no idea it’s 99% dead. There are public performances and music going on outside of it, there are people walking through the parts of it that are open, and many of the stores on the main streets are open for business. She, herself, seemed only half sure that the bus she told me to get on actually went to the mall, and had to ask the driver. The result of this mall rush has been a rash of struggling shopping centres and cases of ghost malls such as the now famous 660,000 square metre New South China Mall … Yet, despite the modernistic design and incredible amusement park, the project was deserted due to a lack of retailer interest. I crossed the street and after a 15 minute walk I was there. I shut up and looked out the window. For a mall to succeed, it has to be in an area where there are enough consumers, and it must be easy to access. The construction cost of South China Mall is US$1.3 Billion and was opened in 2005. Another aspect that the mall developers overlooked is that the Chinese are, in general, savers not spenders. (Milowent / Wikimedia Commons). We also use third-party cookies that help us analyze and understand how you use this website. There is a well-known maxim – Build it, and they will come. I asked a girl from Dongguan where the center of the city was, and she told me rather awkwardly that it was moving out to the mall. They were wearing the knock-off, cheap-o clothes that they make in the factories they work in. Or Both?“. As I walked along one corridor a girl from the floor below began yelling at me. I couldn’t even begin to concoct a logical explanation for why I was traveling for hours across an urban wasteland to go to a mall with no stores, so I told her the truth: because it’s the biggest mall in the world and I want to see it. An uncomfortable feeling of impermanence and ephemerality is in the air of these places, and the conception that everything — including yourself — is being hurled towards eminent demise is never more stark. Every single room was deficient of life. The shopping center has been modernized, and the makeover seems to be working as there are both customers and tenants filling up the New South China Mall. “But the eerie feeling that often accompanies deserted places was not there. I rode this bus for an hour through the torn up, blown apart, dug up, maybe-soon-to-be-redeveloped outskirts of the greatest urban monstrosity on planet earth before I began wondering if I was actually being taken near the mall. The “fascist” may be gone but now we’re primed to get a taste of what authoritarianism really is. While Mr. Hu certainly appears to have had laudable intentions, neither he nor his team seem to have given much thought to various practical aspects regarding the project’s feasibility. I was thinking that I had to have been close for the amount of time I was already on the bus: how many hours can you ride a city bus for without leaving the city completely? Set in China’s Guangdong province, the New South China Mall was set to be the world’s largest retail mall. This is a topic that really needs it’s own study, thanks for bringing it up! She thought for only a brief moment before replying simply, “Maybe two more hours.”. It is my impression that the area around the mall would need to be completely restructured to provide it with enough sustenance to function as a retail center, and this seems to be what is slowly being done. Bigger isn’t always better. But nobody showed up. The now abandoned South China Mall. Or Both? This will all be told in the future. Right now it is like a plane going down a runway, in a year or two it will be flying high,” spoke its manager in a documentary shot in 2009. Failure is not something the Chinese admit to very easily — especially when it means sacrificing a lot of face on the international stage. To get there from Dongguan, the city residents must travel for about two hours and, moreover, change a few buses to complete the journey. A 1% occupancy rate has remained constant since it opened. Almost 40 years later, Mirabel is still rotting alone in its fields, while Dorval has been re-developed within its physical limits… new areas were built, more gates added, etc.
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