New South China Mall

My knowledge of modern China is limited; my mind’s eye forming images and opinion based on news stories or photographs. Past ponders on “ghost cities”, factories, use of banned pesticides, pollution and foreign investment do little to sharpen the image. I can’t speak from experience, all I can do is ponder.

New South China Mall is worth a ponder; a development that simply doesn’t make sense, another example of the China I don’t understand.

Chinese billionaire Hu Guirung  – his fortune made in instant noodles – secured a loan from the Agricultural Bank of China to build the world’s largest mall in Guandong Province. I can’t speak to relevance but find it interesting this bank was a “policy bank”, one that made loans based on government policy rather than economic feasibility. When completed in 2005 it had space for 2350 stores and a 99.5% vacancy rate.

Located in Dongguan, a massive industrial city of over 7 million residents with an area twice the size of Los Angeles – economic feasibility missed the mark and then some. Over 5 million residents classified by the government as “permanent migrants” – primarily women working in factories, with wages to match. Throw in toll highways leading to the mall, absence of public transportation, reputation for high crime in the area – it soon becomes clear why low income workers didn’t flock to shop.

Amusement park, areas designed as “cities of the world” – Rome, Paris, Amsterdam – deserted. Security guards positioned to keep people out; best of all, mall president Kun Liu announced in 2011 , a period of “strength accumulating quietness” would be broken with development of another 2 million square feet.

All you have to do is walk into Wal-Mart or count dollar stores on your street to grasp where China is making money. A select few becoming extremely wealthy; wealthy enough to build grotesquely bloated malls or “ghost cities” driven by real estate speculation. I can’t help but find it absurd.

A link to my post on “ghost cities”….

7 thoughts on “New South China Mall

  1. Like yourself, not having been to China my knowledge is limited but ponderability is not. In innumerable ways China seems to me to be the epitome of disappointment in my expectation of rational thought and behavior in the universe. It’s bad enough that U.S. or Canadian, or European national policies don’t seem to make sense for their populations. But China seems from this far away to be trying to play the one-upmanship game with a vengeance.
    I can’t help wondering whether the same influences that ultimately resulted in the end of kingdoms will see the end of these islands of insane wealth surrounded by astounding poverty.
    Few ever expected the fall of the Iron Curtain in the way it happened, nor the dissolution of the Soviet Union. But just because something exists today is no guarantee it will exist in 1 year, 5 years, 10 years.
    Being powerless to change the macro, I’m at least enjoying the show…
    A retired photographer looks at life from behind an RV steering wheel.
    Life Unscripted

    • China leaves me with an uneasy feeling – it simply doesn’t add up. French is Canada’s second official language yet Mandarin classes are the ones with waiting lists.There isn’t any way to say this without coming across as a politically incorrect Canadian (so Canadian of me to worry about correctness)

      I live in a city at the receiving end of new Chinese wealth.You can’t buy a home for under a million dollars. Flyers appear daily in my mail box written in Chinese characters, “out of service” signs on gas pumps in Chinese with tiny English writing at the bottom – not a word of French.

      When my son was about 2 we were at the playground and a Chinese boy around 6 or 7 came up and flattened him. It knocked the wind out of my son who was crying as this boy glared at the both of us. Another child asked him to say “sorry”. This boy looked me in the eyes and said ” I will not, he’s only a whitey”. Holy crap!

      I don’t understand China, but know their perspective is much different from ours.

      • I hear ya. A good friend of ours lives in Seattle Suburbs and has told similar stories. Her huz has BEEN to China and returned home with revulsion over the waste laid to the land and the resources. Her interpretation of his stories: Plague of locusts…

        I really wonder about a future where the Chinese own America… cuz they will soon enough. 🙂

  2. Ghost cities. Ghost malls. I truly wonder what goes on in the minds of these people…has success been so quick & easy that they think anything they touch turns into gold? Weird…how can obvious answers to basic questions (this is a crappy investment) be ignored 🙂

  3. Welcome to modern China! Government and ‘private’ business are deeply entwined. Billionaires are given enough rope to hang themselves and can be yanked back any time it suits the government. Although there is most definite prosperity in the megapoles, even for ordinary folks, some of these infrastructure projects are just like the old communist ventures, dreamt up by a civil servant, implemented by the ‘free’ forces of capitalism.

    My favourite are the suburbs outside Beijing. As you fly into the truly impressive airport, you’ll see massive construction sites copy & pasting massive tower blocks. Not hundreds but thousands. Possibly ten times that! When they’re finished, millions of new middle class families will be told where to live.

    China is worth a visit and IMO, it doesn’t compare too badly to the madness of western economics, governance and culture. And they’re not actively at war in far away countries. Not bad, what! OK they’re buying an entire African continent, but still.

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