Shopping Center Developer Plans 'Great Mall of China'

Greg Johnson covers retail businesses and restaurants for The Times. He can be reached at (714) 966-5950 and at

Long Beach-based mall developer Harry Newman believes that the future growth of retailing in China will mirror the kind of development that happened in Orange County in decades past.

Newman, who owns Mall of Orange and has been building shopping centers in Southern California for three decades, believes that the American concept of big, regional centers will catch on in China.

China is inviting developers from the U.S. and around the world to analyze the market and determine what kind of retail developments best suit the needs of its consumers.

Just as in Orange County, Newman said, the retailing scenario will be driven by huge residential developments and parcels near freeways that are zoned for retail. Newman has been to Beijing to study a possible retail development in a suburban neighborhood near an expressway linking Beijing to the Great Wall of China.

The center is tentatively called Jing-Chang Power Mall, but Newman refers to it as the "Great Mall of China." The proposed 800,000-square-foot center would be built on a 120-acre tract alongside the soon-to-be-completed Great Wall of China Expressway.

Plans for the center call for three major anchor tenants and a selection of small shops. Some of the retailers undoubtedly will be from the U.S., Newman said.

In addition to 10 million residents in north Beijing, Newman said as many as 50,000 tourists pass the tract on the way to the Great Wall and the Ming Tombs. Newman said that his partners in China have secured required government approvals and that the mall could open as early as 1998.

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