Personally for me, going shopping in a mall in itself — especially one in the United States — is somewhat of an experience. Between all the shameless people-watching (admit it, you do it, too), the seductive lure of Auntie Anne’s soft pretzels, and of course, the 300 something stores, it’s pretty hard to get bored with all of that going on around you. At least, that’s what you would think.
Chinese consumers however, beg to differ. These days, malls in China are built over-the-top. They’ll include anything from an aquarium with performers dressed up as mermaids, to a pig farm. According to the Wall Street Journal, for those adventurous consumers who want to feel like they are simultaneously sunbathing and shopping, there’s now even a man-made beach, in addition to an Olympic-sized ice-skating rink and a 14-screen IMAX theatre, all stuffed into New Century Global Center, a mall in Chengdu, China.
There is, of course, an actual reason behind this ridiculously jam-packed shopping concept. Mark Isreal, CEO of Value Retail China, a company that specializes in developing luxury malls and outlets, recently told the WSJ in an interview that mall owners feel the need to take it up a notch, in order to compete with online shopping. He also told WSJ, “We’ve passed the time where the consumer cares just about the product or the brands they can find. They care about the entire experience.”
Here are some other crazy things you can find while shopping in malls in China:
A Claude Monet Exhibition, in the basement of Shanghai’s K11 Art Mall:
In an outlet mall in Suzhou, China, a street performer at Suzhou Village, who, according to the WSJ, is supposedly embodying the “graphics of the textile seen by Marco Polo on his silk road journey.”
And last but not least, an aquarium with live mermaid performers in The City of Dreams, an entertainment hub in Macau, China:
Feeling overwhelmed yet? Excuse me while I go lie down.