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The Largest Malls in the World

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There's been a lot of buzz this year about the number of monstrous megamalls being built in China and how, for example, the Mall of America doesn't even rank in the top 10 any longer. Most sources regard the South China Mall as the largest in the world.

But one of the points people seem to gloss over is that many of these new behemoths aren't exactly set up like traditional Western-style malls.

In many cases, the large "malls" in China are not filled with department stores and inline space. Instead, they are at least partially set up as giant wholesale malls with hundreds of tiny vendors hawking wares.

The Los Angeles Times' Don Lee filed an illustrative report from International Trade City in Yiwu, China, that gives a glimpse of what these retail venues are really like. That mall isn't listed among the world's largest malls, despite containing 18 million square feet of retail space. Is that because it hasn't been catalogued or is that because it doesn't qualify?

Regardless, with a rash of huge retail projects going up in China, The Philippines and the Middle East, it may be time to come up with a firm set of guidelines, such as the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat has developed for determining the world's tallest buildings.

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Elaine Misonzhnik

Senior associate editor Elaine Misonzhnik has been writing for National Real Estate Investor since June 2006 and has covered commercial real estate for more than 12 years. She first became...
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