Mall or Ghost Town?


Dongguan’s infamous New South China Mall, the biggest mall in the world, started a new campaign to attract tenants this year and plans to reopen its vacant A and D sections. RMB 20 million will be spent on renovations including the addition of an 88 meter Ferris wheel.

At the beginning of March, news calling the mall a ghost town filled the Internet rapidly through global media outlets creating negative hype around the shopping mall. Local news crews have reported on the foreign media’s claims that the mall is only at 20 percent occupancy in an attempt to counter the claims.

“We have to admit that part of the mall’s space is vacant. But what some media reported as 99 percent of vacancy is irresponsible,” said Gao Tieshuang, General Manager of the management team to Dongguan Daily. “The vacancy rate is about 36 percent based on real data. Everyone can go to the mall and check it out.”

In 2006, facing the increasing retreat of major tenants like B&Q and Causeway Bay Department Store, Dongguan Sanyuan Yinghui Investment & Development sold the mall to the PKU Resource Group. The next year, the new owner cooperated with the world’s biggest real estate service company CBRE as a business consultant and rebranded it as the New South China Mall: Living City.