The 10 Biggest Malls in the World

March 27, 2024

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Malls are a bustling hub of activity in most cities. From luxury boutiques to food courts full of delicious meals, there’s so much variety in these shopping complexes. However, some malls are far beyond any bog-standard precinct you’ve seen before.

We’ve compiled a list of the ten biggest malls in the world based on gross leasable area (GLA). These amazing centers are home to hundreds (even thousands!) of shops, entertainment areas, and everything in between.

1. Iran Mall

Gross Leasable Area: 1,950,000 m² (21,000,000 sq ft)
Location: Tehran, Iran
Number of shops: 2,500+

At an impressive 1,950,000 m² (21,000,000 sq ft), Iran Mall is the world’s largest shopping mall. Aside from over 2,500 shops, Iran Mall also features a concert hall, ice hockey auditorium, and a luxury hotel. The mall has a traditional bazaar inspired by the historic markets and architecture around the country. Iran Mall is also home to the country’s largest supermarket, a musical fountain, and a stunning library.

The giant complex was opened in 2018 in northwest Tehran, Iran. It took over 1,200 contractors and 25,000 workers to construct the mall. Due to its sprawling size, the Iran Mall was used as a makeshift hospital and held 3,000 beds during the COVID-19 pandemic. It also served as the country’s largest vaccination center.

Thanks to over 20,000 spaces in the parking lot, customers have plenty of room to leave their cars before they spend the day shopping. Car fans will also love the showroom on the mall’s western side. It features the latest technology and designs from the automotive industry.

2. IOI City Mall

Gross Leasable Area: 821,000 m² (8,840,000 sq ft)
Location: Putrajaya, Malaysia
Number of shops: 650+

Malaysia’s IOI City Mall is the second-biggest shopping mall in the world. It measures 821,000 m² (8,840,000 sq ft) and features over 650 shops. You can play a game of badminton in the sports center or skate on the Olympic-size ice rink before enjoying a meal in the Food Junction food court.

IOI City Mall is just a 30-minute drive from Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA). If you drive your car to the mall, you won’t have to worry about losing it in the 14,000-space parking lot. The mall uses a car finder system with registration plate recognition that can help you locate your parked car.

IOI City Mall features an indoor educational farm space with animals, plants, and fish. Watch the antics of the marmoset monkey or admire the sleek Bengal cat while participating in fun, family-friendly activities.

3. Isfahan City Center

Gross Leasable Area: 776,000 m² (8,350,000 sq ft)
Location: Isfahan, Iran
Number of shops: 700+

Not only is Iran home to the world’s largest mall, but it also boasts the world’s third-largest mall! Isfahan City Center covers 776,000 m² (8,350,000 sq ft) and contains over 700 shops over seven floors.

Aside from the shops, Isfahan City Center has a museum, a five-star hotel, and Iran’s largest indoor theme park (featuring bumper cars and a roller coaster). You can also watch the latest movies on one of seven cinema screens or browse the mall’s art gallery.

The mall was built in four phases before it was officially opened in 2012. It cost approximately $1 billion to construct; much of this was paid for by the mall’s owner, Masoud Sarrami. The billionaire entrepreneur had toyed with inviting Donald Trump to invest in the project (in connection with the luxury hotel), but the plan never materialized.

4. South China Mall

Gross Leasable Area: 659,612 m² (7,100,000 sq ft)
Location: Dongguan, China
Number of shops: 2,350

Despite being the world’s fourth-largest mall, the South China Mall lay virtually empty for over a decade. From when it was opened in 2005 to around 2020, the so-called dead mall was mostly vacant with few merchants. Until at least 2014, the mall had occupancy rates of under 10%.

One of the main reasons for the mall’s poor occupancy and visitor numbers was its location. Dongguan, where the mall is based, has a large population of low-income migrant workers who couldn’t afford to shop in the mall, which was aimed at the upper class.

Renovations began in 2019, with adjustments to attract more middle-class customers. A marine park was added, along with night markets and other social venues. Greenery and lighting were also updated.

Luckily, the mall has grown in popularity since the renovations, and around 2,350 shops (91% capacity) are now occupied. South China Mall covers 659,612 m² (7,100,000 sq ft) and features an IMAX-style cinema, an amusement park, and an aquarium.

5. SM Mall of Asia

Gross Leasable Area: 589,891 m² (6,349,530 sq ft)
Location: Pasay, Philippines
Number of shops: 3,500+

The SM SM Mall of Asia has the highest number of shops for any mall in the world. The complex houses over 3,500 shops and attracts an average of 200,000 people each day!

SM Mall of Asia opened in 2006, leading to the closure of several smaller malls nearby. After an IKEA store was opened in the mall in 2021, the SM Mall of Asia became the largest mall in the Phillippines. The store was the first IKEA in the country and, at a whopping 67,819 m2 (730,000 sq ft), is the largest IKEA store in the world.

The mall consists of four buildings connected via a network of elevated paths and walkways. The Main Mall features shops and a food court, while the two-story Entertainment Mall has a music hall, an events hall, and restaurants. The other two buildings are dedicated parking lots with around 8,000 spaces.

6. SM Tianjin

Gross Leasable Area: 565,000 m² (6,080,000 sq ft)
Location: Tianjin, China
Number of shops: 1,000+

Opened in 2016, SM Tianjin was the seventh mall opened by the supermall chain. It covers 565,000 m² (6,080,000 sq ft) and features over 1,000 shops spread over four floors.

SM planned to open its supermalls in ‘second tier cities’ rather than the likes of Beijing and Shanghai. The idea was that there would be less competition in these smaller cities and cheaper property prices.

The exterior of the mall complex is designed to look like a blossoming flower from the air. It was designed by ARQ, an internationally renowned design agency.

7. Golden Resources Mall

Gross Leasable Area: 557,419 m² (6,000,010 sq ft)
Location: Beijing, China
Number of shops: 750+

Golden Resources Mall is based in Beijing, one of the largest cities in the world. The mall, which was opened in 2004, covers 557,419 m² (6,000,010 sq ft) and hosts over 750 shops. It’s often nicknamed the ‘Great Mall of China’ due to its impressive size; the mall was the world’s largest shopping center for its first year of operation.

Although it was estimated the mall would attract around 50,000 people a day when it opened, it only attracted approximately 20 people per hour. At the time, the surrounding area wasn’t very populated, and the prices were too expensive for most locals.

In recent years, apartment buildings have popped up in the local area. The increased population has brought more customers to the mall, and it is often crowded. In 2012, the Beijing Subway Line 10 Changchunqiao station opened, which allowed better access to Golden Resources Mall. Line 12, another subway line, opened in 2023 and further improved access to the mall.

8. Central WestGate

Gross Leasable Area: 550,278 m² (5,923,140 sq ft)
Location: Nonthaburi, Thailand
Number of shops: 500+

Central WestGate is Thailand’s largest mall with over 500 shops over six floors. The shopping complex was built in 2015 for an estimated cost of $274 million (10,000 million Baht).

The mall is easily accessible due to its location on the Bangyai Intersection. Central WestGate also has 7,000 parking spaces (5,000 for cars and 2,000 for motorcycles). An underpass is directly linked to the parking lot.

There are three food zones in the mall, with over 200 restaurants. The mall also features two supermarkets, 12 cinema screens, and a high-quality gym and fitness center. An IKEA store with an area of 50,278 m² (541,190 sq ft) is also located in the mall.

9. CentralWorld

Gross Leasable Area: 550,000 m² (5,900,000 sq ft)
Location: Bangkok, Thailand
Number of shops: 600

CentralWorld was originally opened in 1990 under the name ‘World Trade Center’. However, it was acquired by Central Group in 2002, when it was renamed Central World Plaza. It was renamed for a second time in 2005 to CentralWorld. The original mall structure measured just 300,000 m² (3,229,173 sq ft) before it was expanded during the first acquisition.

Central World doesn’t just feature restaurants, cafes, and juice bars. It’s also home to Asia’s largest cooking school, which covers 48,000 m². The space in front of the mall often hosts open-air markets, food festivals, and much more.

Bangkok’s New Year’s celebrations have been hosted in front of the mall for several years. It has quickly become a tradition, and crowd numbers increase each year.

10. ICONSIAM

Gross Leasable Area: 525,000 m² (5,650,000 sq ft)
Location: Bangkok, Thailand
Number of shops: 550+

The ICONSIAM complex cost approximately $1.5 billion to build. The Magnolia Waterfront Residences (Thailand’s tallest building) has 70 floors, some of which are underground. The Mandarin Oriental Residences (Thailand’s sixth-tallest building) has 52 floors.

There are over 100 places to choose from when it comes to meals and snacks. You can enjoy a film at the ICON CINECONIC, which has 14 screens, a VIP screen and a 4DX Screen.

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