The New South China Mall
The New South China Mall in Guangdong Province opened in 2005. With 5 million square feet of shopping area, the mall can accommodate 2,350 stores, making it the largest shopping center in the world in terms of leasable space — more than twice the size of the Mall of America, the biggest shopping center in the United States. At the outdoor plaza, hundreds of palm trees blend in with a replica Arc de Triomphe, a giant Egyptian Sphinx, fountains, and extensive canals with gondolas.
The only problem is that the mall is virtually deserted. Despite the bombastic design and grand plans, only a handful of stores are occupied. Walking among shattered shops, with dusty corridors and escalators covered in soiled sheets, is like a walk through a ghost mall. Rubbish is piled up along the sides, paint is coming off of the walls, and store signs and advertisements have faded. The mall’s indoor amusement park staff lay half asleep over counters, or kill time chatting with each other, while the 1,814 foot roller coaster roars above.