This Surreal Mall Is More Ghost Town Than Shopping Center

It's easy to find the the New South China Mall in the bustling metropolis of Dongguan in Guangdong province, China. With 892,000 square metres of leasable space, it's the largest shopping centre in the world.* But you'll have to look much more closely to see if its even open.

The NSCM is the victim of its own lofty aspirations. The project was heavily promoted by instant noodle billionaire Alex Hu and began operations in 2005 to great fanfare. The only problem was that someone apparently forgot to check if there was sufficient demand — — just one per cent of the available shop spaces were rented at opening, a figure that has remained constant over the subsequent eight years.

Documentarian Grégoire Basdevant produced this fittingly subdued, unnarrated compilation tour of the retail monstrosity. Though 23 intrepid outlets do operate from the NSCM and a smattering of old people use it as a gym, the NSCM remains a ghost mall.

* Based on leasable square footage, not total floor space — Dubai's mall holds that title.

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