...the mall is virtually deserted. Despite the bombastic design and grand plans, only a handful of stores are occupied. "Most of it empty, with little consumer traffic and a high vacancy rate," according to a report last year by Emporis, a global building data firm. "It has been classified as a 'dead mall.'"At least there'll be ample space for survivors after the zombie apocalypse...
Walking among shattered shops -- its dusty corridors and escalators covered in soiled sheets -- is a walk through a ghost mall. Rubbish piles up along the sides, paint is coming off 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 rollercoaster roars above.
Opened for the public in 2005, developers expected to attract some 100,000 visitors a day. But eight years later, the few people that visit the mall today typically hang out at the American fast food restaurants near the entrance or at the IMAX cinema outside the mall. Some parents bring their children to the Teletubbies Edutainment Center.
Part of the problem is location. Dongguan is a factory town and most of its almost 10 million inhabitants are migrant workers struggling to make ends meet. "People coming here to work in factories don't have the time or the money for shopping or the rollercoaster," said a migrant worker in his 20s, surnamed Xiao, who works at the mall.
The deserted mall is also a symbol of China's rapid urbanization and runaway investment in real estate projects, where massive development projects have been given the go ahead without proper marketing and business research.
Tuesday, March 05, 2013
The Big Empty
Hubris, Chinese style: