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 Mall of America, the biggest shopping center in the United States. …

Only problem is, 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.'” …

“To me, many of these projects are a result of easy access to capital and a combination of wishful thinking and speculative behavior rather than rational business calculations,” said Victor Teo, assistant professor at the University of Hong Kong.

“This mall is not the only one that is like that. Elsewhere in China there is the phenomenon of ‘Ghost Towns’, that is to say infrastructure projects, both residential and commercial, with no takers.”