It’s a shopping centre so massive it almost makes West Edmonton Mall look like a bungalow. The recently completed New Century Global Centre is China’s latest retail offering, and it is officially the largest building in the world at 19 million sq. feet—four times the size of Vatican City.
Located in Chengdu, a city of 14 million in Sichuan province, the mega-development is home to a 14-theatre IMAX cinema, world-class skating rink, faux Mediterranean village and an artificial beach, among many other amenities.
Though its grandeur is unlikely to be matched, the mall is just one of dozens currently being built to attract consumers in China’s 20 most populous cities. In 2012, the nation’s economy, the second-largest in the world, grew at its slowest pace in 13 years but retail sales were up 13 per cent this May from a year earlier. The approach in China now appears to be that if you build it, they will shop.