Malls are such an important part of our lives that even after the arrival of authoritative e-commerce websites, we couldn’t stop us from visiting there from time to time. They are also an important asset to local as well as the national economy.
Based on the gross leasable area, we have compiled a list of the biggest mall in the world. The gross leasable area or GLA stands for the total space (floor) available for commercial renting. On the other hand, the gross floor area is the total area inside an establishment including walls.
Table of Contents
15. New Century Global Center
Image Courtesy: liuzusai
Located In: Chengdu, China
Opened In: 2013
Gross Leasable Area: 400,000 Square Meters
In terms of total floor area, China’s New Century Global Center is the biggest building (1,700,000 m2) in the world. Its size is comparable to that of three Pentagons or 246 football fields. Inside is a gigantic water park with an artificial bench and a cinema. It also accommodates an ice rink, office space, and a 1000-rooms InterContinental Hotel.
14. Central World
CentralWorld Square | Image Courtesy: Imtaiki [CC BY-SA 4.0]
Located In: Bangkok, Thailand
Opened In: 1990 and/or 2006
Gross Leasable Area: 187,046 Square Meters
Bangkok’s CentralWorld Mall was initially launched as the ‘World Trade Center’ in 1990. It was changed to Central World Plaza in 2003 following an expansion. The mall went through another round of renovations to compete with Siam Paragon mall (also in Bangkok). The name was finally changed to Central World in 2006.
The mall houses close to 600 retail stores, a 45-story office building and a 5-star hotel with a 17,000 m2 convention hall. The entire complex is situated over an area of 1,024,000 m2.
13. SM Mall of Asia
SM Mall of Asia and its surrounding area | Image Courtesy: Lawrence Ruiz
Located In: Bay City, Philippines
Opened In: 2006
Gross Leasable Area: 432,891 Square Meters
SM Mall of Asia, or simply SM MoA, is currently the fourth largest mall in the Philippines, down from the first spot when it was opened in 2006.
The mall includes a hypermarket, an IMAX theater, and three other cinemas. Its main sporting attraction is Olympic-sized ice skating rink (Philippines’ first-ever) located on the third floor. In 2007, it hosted the prestigious Skate Asia competition.
SM Mall of Asia also features the E-com center, a six-phase commercial establishment dedicated to office purposes. The entire complex is located over an area of close to 70 hectares.
12. Persian Gulf Complex
Persian Gulf Complex bowling arena | Image Courtesy: persiangulfcomplex.ir
Located In: Shiraz, Iran
Opened In: 2011
Gross Leasable Area: 450,000 Square Meters
In terms of total floor area, the Persian Gulf Complex is Iran’s third-biggest and the world’s 12th biggest mall. However, it is the second biggest, behind only the Iran Mall, in terms of the total number of stores (2,500).
Inside the complex is a bowling alley, six cinemas, three amusement parks (one outdoor) with a gaming corner, two swimming pools and a hypermarket.
11. 1 Utama
Located In: Petaling Jaya, Malaysia
Opened In: 1995
Gross Leasable Area: 465,000 Square Meters
1 Utama, located in Petaling Jaya city near Kuala Lumpur, is the biggest shopping mall in Malaysia. It is home to the largest rooftop garden in Southeast Asia, a crossfire arcade center, and a gigantic 36-lane bowling alley. As much as six other recreational sporting centers are located inside the mall.
The entire complex was built in two phases, with the most recent being opened for public on 19 August 2011. According to the official numbers, more than 60,000 people visit 1 Utama daily on weekdays and about 120,000 people on weekdays.
10. Isfahan City Center
Isfahan City Center Entrance | Image Courtesy: Ehsan shariati/Wikimedia Commons
Located In: Isfahan, Iran
Opened In: 2012
Gross Leasable Area: 465,500 Square Meters
Isfahan City Center, situated over an area of 600,000 m2 and with 465,000 m2 of total floor area, is the second-largest mall in Iran. It is also the world’s largest mall museum (mall containing a museum).
The City Center houses restaurants, an entertainment center, a hypermarket, a hotel, and more than 700 retail stores. The entire complex was built in four phases.
9. SM Seaside City Cebu
SM Seaside City Cebu | Image Courtesy: Lucky Ambago
Located In: Cebu City, Philippines
Opened In: 2015
Gross Leasable Area: 470,486 Square Meters
SM Seaside City Cebu (don’t confuse it with SM City Cebu) is the crowned jewel of SM Seaside Complex, an ₱8.5 billion (close to US$600 million) project, which includes residential buildings, office spaces, and a hotel.
The mall feature an amusement center with an 18-lane bowling alley and an Olympic-sized skating rink. It also accommodates a large-format cinema (similar to IMAX), and six other cinemas.
At the center of the mall is a 150-meters tall tower, known as the Seaside Tower. The top viewing deck of this tower provides a complete 360-degree view of the city.
8. SM Megamall
SM Megamall’s fashion hall (Mega D) | Image Courtesy: Rio Hondo/ Wikimedia Commons
Located In: Mandaluyong, Philippines
Opened In: 1991
Gross Leasable Area: 474,000 Square Meters
SM Megamall, located in the city of Mandaluyong in Metropolitan Manila, is the second-largest mall in the Philippines. It is situated over 25 acres of land and accommodates more than one thousand stores including retail outlets and restaurants.
The mall has four sections or buildings;
- Mega A and B make up the main mall
- Mega C is a parking and office facility
- Mega D houses stores of several fashion retailers.
A 16,000 m2 atrium is located between the two main buildings.
7. SM City North EDSA
SM City North EDSA | Image Courtesy: Ramon FVelasquez
Located In: Quezon City, Philippines
Opened In: 1985
Gross Leasable Area: 498,000 Square Meters
The SM City North EDSA mall is the largest in the Philippines and seventh-largest in the world. It was also the very first real estate project of SM Supermalls. When launched in 1985, the mall had just 120,000 square meters of gross floor area. It was only after a string of redevelopment and expansion projects (since 2006) that the mall reached its current size.
The entire complex is divided into five blocks or annexes, excluding the original building. Out of the five blocks, two accommodate office spaces, while the other two are used solely for parking. The remaining block (annex 2) features retail outlets, restaurants and entertainment centers.
Iconsiam shopping mall from across the Chao Phraya River | Image Courtesy: Chainwit. [CC BY-SA 4.0]
Located In: Bangkok, Thailand
Opened In: 2018
Gross Leasable Area: 525,000 Square Meters
Bangkok’s one of the newest real estate attraction, ICONSIAM is a shopping and residential complex which includes two of the city’s tallest buildings as well as the second biggest mall in Thailand.
The mall, with 525,000 m2 of retail floor space and ten floors, houses more than one thousand stores. It includes the first and only Apple Store in Thailand. Iconsiam also accommodates an exhibition hall and a heritage museum.
The entire project cost about $1.6 billion or 54 billion baht.
5. CentralPlaza Westgate
Located In: Nonthaburi, Thailand
Inaugurated In: 2015
Gross Leasable Area: 550,278 Square meters
Next in this list of the biggest malls is Thailand’s CentralPlaza WestGate (or Bangyai), located in Nonthaburi province just outside Bangkok. With six floors and a total floor area of 550,278 square meters, the mall houses more than one thousand shops, including the fifth-largest IKEA store in the world (50,278 m2). It is owned and developed by Thailand’s largest property developer Central Pattana.
4. Golden Resources Mall
The second phase of the Golden Resources Mall | Wikimedia Commons
Located In: Beijing, China
Inaugurated In: 2004
Gross Leasable Area: 557,419 square meters
The Golden Resources Mall, with over six floors and spanning over an area on nearly 560,000 m2, is the third biggest mall in China. After its completion on 20 October 2004, the structure became the world’s largest mall and it retained its position until 2005. It is as much as 1.5 times bigger than the Mall of America.
It was initially estimated that the Golden Resources Mall would attract a huge crowd on a daily bases. However, due to its suburban locality and excessively high costs of goods, the actual number of visitors was far too low, especially in the first few years.
3. SM City Tianjin
Bird’s eye view of SM City Tianjin | Image Courtesy: sminvestment.com
Located In: Tianjin, China
Inaugurated In: 2016
Gross Leasable Area: 565,000 square meters
SM City Tianjin is the world’s third-largest mall based on the total leasable area. It is the seventh and most recent mall in China built by Philippines based SM Supermalls. The entire mall spans over a total area of 436,000 m2.
SM Tianjin’s distinctive design; a round building at the center surrounded by three leaf-like oval buildings, resembles a flower when viewed from above. It was designed by American architectural and design firm arquitectonica.
About 60% of the mall’s total leasable space was occupied within a few weeks after its opening. It features some of the biggest domestics as well as foreign retailers.
2. South China Mall
SPAR hypermarket entrance in South China Mall
Located In: Dongguan, Guangdong Province, China
Inaugurated In: 2005
Gross Leasable Area: 659,612 Square meters
Estimated cost: $1.3 billion
When it opened in 2005, the South China Mall became the second-largest shopping mall in the world by total area and the largest by gross leasable area (close to 660,000 square meters). It has enough space for as much as 2,350 retail shops.
The mall, for more than a decade after its inauguration, failed to attract tenants and as a result, it remained practically empty. Due to the extremely low occupancy, it earned itself a nickname of the ‘dead mall’.
But things started to change after a series of renovations and revamping. Most of the rental spaces are now occupied and there has been a surge in daily visitors.
1. Iran Mall (Under Construction)
Under Construction Iran Mall | Image Courtesy: Diba Tensile Architecture
Located In: Chitgar Lake, Tehran
Gross Leasable Area: 1.4 million square meters
Estimated Completion: 2020
The crown of the world’s biggest mall goes to the Iran Mall, located in northwest Tehran. The construction (ongoing) of the mall is done in two phases.
The first phase, which includes facilities ranging from restaurants and food courts to cinemas and a family entertainment center, was inaugurated in 2018. And with the expected completion of the second phase in 2020, the Iran Mall will probably retain its position for quite some time.
After the completion of the project’s second and final phases, its total area will increase from 1.4 million square meters to 1.95 million square meters.