China will have more shopping centre space than Western Europe in 5 to 10 years, stoking fears of a property bubble as developers race to build glitzy malls for the country’s fast-growing middle classes, research shows.
China has built at least 20 million square metres of shopping centres in 14 major cities over the past decade, with a further 14.8 million square metres under construction, property consultancy CBRE Group said last week. Western European centres cover 55 million square metres.
Europe began building shopping malls in the 1960s, but China started only 10 years ago. Developers in China turned their attention to malls in recent years to capitalise on rising demand from international retailers such as Burberry and Louis Vuitton. It also became a more attractive sector after government clampdowns on the country’s overheating housing market.