Tour China's Enormous 'Ghost Mall' That Sits Virtually Empty Years After It Was Built

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Photo: Wade Shephard for Vagabond Journey

Following a recent 60 Minutes report on China’s empty “ghost cities”, we’ve been thinking a lot about how some of China’s grand construction projects have fallen flat.One of the greatest examples of this overarching ambitious might be that of the New South China Mall, located in Dongguan, China.

Take a tour of the New South China Mall >
The mall was opened in 2005 and was heralded as the largest shopping centre in the world with 659,612 square meters (7,100,000 sq ft) of space. According to CNN, the owners expected 100,000 visitors a day.

That didn’t happen.

According to a report last year from Emporis, a global building data firm, the mall is virtually empty. “It has been classified as a ‘dead mall'”, the report states. An employee CNN spoke to claimed the mall had 20% occupancy.

One of the relatively few people who has visited the mall is journalist and explorer Wade Shepard, who published a great essay on the empty mall earlier this year at his website Vagabond Journey.

Wade has kindly allowed us to publish his photos with some of his comments here to give you a taste of China’s “Ghost Mall”.

Wade says the biggest problem with the mall was its location.

When Wade got to Dongguan, most people he asked had never even heard of the giant mall.

Eventually Wade got a bus there that took him 2-and-a-half hours.

Other passengers on the Bus were apparently surprised when Wade said he wasn't going to see a movie at the mall's iMax cinema.

The mall was a further 15 minute walk from the bus stop.

The mall wasn't completely empty — Wade saw kids and families at this amusement park.

But above that were 4 stories of storefronts almost completely empty.

A simple fence to keep visitors out of abandoned areas.

Numerous empty hallways led to more empty shops.

Outside, the mall has it's own Arc de Triomphe replica.

Alongside more boarded up stores.

This map shows the layout of the mall.

There are some signs of life...

...but Wade estimates the mall must be 99% empty.

He doesn't seem optimistic the mall can ever be saved.

Wade also shot a video of what he saw.

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