The Nanfang / Blog

“Ghost Mall” No More, Dongguan Behemoth Becomes Culinary Paradise

Posted: 07/8/2014 8:59 am

south china mall When you’re in a big mall in China, you’ve likely said, “I’m hungry. Let’s go to the food court and see what restaurants they have.” Somebody has finally taken that concept and made an entire mall out of it

The newly-renovated South China Mall in Dongguan, long known for being an empty, abandoned behemoth, is once again a commercial success, having served 80,000 customers on June 1. However, it’s recent success is in defiance of its humble beginnings as a white elephant.

Having opened to grand fanfare in 2005, what had once been dubbed “the world’s largest mall” was bereft of customers just a year later as stores abandoned their leases. For seven years, the South China Mall remained largely deserted of any life as its own existence remained a legacy to its failure.

READ: Dongguan’s “Ghost Mall”

This year, however, the South China Mall got a new lease on life. Gao Tiechuan, president of the the South China Mall responsible for its restructuring, changed it from a US-styled mall to one that caters to Chinese interests, reports Want China Times. Namely, the focus was put on food offerings rather than clothing shops.

Gao scaled back the scope of the mall to attract local diners instead of trying to cater to the entire Pearl River Delta. Besides hosting branches of popular local restaurant franchises, the mall now offers more affordable domestic brands to attract budget-minded clientele.

The RMB 200 million (US$32 million) renovation also did away with previous mall fixtures like a fountain and a bridge that only got in the way of the crowds.

Now brimming with shoppers, the South China Mall is operating on a customer strategy whereby 40% of sales are from its restaurants, and 30 percent are from “experience stores”. In this new set-up, traditional retailers only account for 30% of the mall’s sales.

Photos: South China Mall


[Photos] Tencent’s New Guangzhou Offices Are 100% Awesome

Posted: 06/25/2014 1:29 pm

tencent guangzhou officeCheck out the new Guangzhou offices of internet behemoth Tencent, borne from six buildings that were once part of an old textile factory.

The new offices of the Shenzhen-based maker of the popular WeChat app are shown in a pictorial published in Business Insider. Eight-hundred Tencent employees will be enjoying things like a two-story slide to pop downstairs and a wall made out of plants.

We don’t see any Segways that are ubiquitous on high-tech campuses, but we’re still very impressed with this modern design that is practical, elegant, and doesn’t look like a kitchen instrument or a pair of pants.

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Photos: Business Insider


Aging White Swan closed for renovations

Posted: 09/17/2011 2:05 pm

One of Guangzhou’s most iconic structures, the White Swan Hotel, is now closed for an entire year to facilitate large-scale renovations costing RMB600 million.

The hotel, known as the home of American and other foreign families who come to Guangzhou to adopt Chinese babies, has had a long and storied history. It was one of the first five-star hotels in Guangzhou and has become synonymous with the city.

The Life of Guangzhou tells us what’s in store:

The project will renew the hotel’s facilities and enlarge the rooms to help the first Sino-foreign cooperative five-star hotel to meet the ever-growing needs of patrons. After renovations the 843 rooms in the hotel will be reduced to about 500.

“We had over 90 percent occupancy yesterday,” said Xie Weijie, vice general manager of the hotel. He said many people had come to bid farewell these days.

According to Xie, the basic appearance of the hotel, especially given its unique scenic location, will be kept intact. However, the restaurants and dining halls will undergo work until early February of next year.

The article notes the Garden Hotel in Guangzhou received a similar upgrade last year. Another historic hotel, the Peace Hotel in Shanghai, was also closed for two years for a massive renovation. Like the White Swan, the Peace Hotel was nearly fully booked in the weeks leading up to its closure.

With new luxury hotels seemly opening in Guangzhou by the month, the White Swan was long overdue for a facelift.


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