Shopping malls have appeared all over the world in the last century. While the term “shopping mall” may have gained popularity in North America, the largest malls in the world are now spread all over the globe. In fact, the highest concentration of super-large malls is in Asia. This is where Iran Mall, the biggest mall in the world, is located.
One way to discuss the world’s biggest malls is to compare their gross leasable areas, or GLA. We’ll look at the GLA of the world’s biggest malls in this post and learn some additional facts about each.
The interactive map below shows the locations of the world’s top ten largest malls as well as their names.
|Rank||Mall||Country||City (metropolitan area)||Year Opened||Gross leasable|
|1||Iran Mall||Iran||Tehran||2018||1,950,000 m2 (21,000,000 sq ft)||708+|
|2||IOI City Mall||Malaysia||Putrajaya||2014||821,000 m2 (8,840,000 sq ft)||650+|
|3||South China Mall||China||Dongguan||2005||659,611 m2 (7,100,000 sq ft)||750+|
|4||Isfahan City Center||Iran||Tehran||2018||659,611 m2 (7,100,000 sq ft)||750+|
|5||SM Mall of Asia||Philippines||Pasay (Metro Manila)||2006||3,573,948 m2 (38,469,660 sq ft)||3,500+|
|6||SM Tianjin||China||Tianjin||2016||565,000 m2 (6,080,000 sq ft)||1,000+|
|7||Golden Resources Mall||China||Beijing||2004||557,419 m2 (6,000,010 sq ft)||750+|
|8||CentralPlaza WestGate||Thailand||Nonthaburi (Bangkok Metropolitan Region)||2015||550,278 m2 (5,923,140 sq ft)||655|
|9||CentralWorld||Thailand||Bangkok||1990||550,000 m2 (5,900,000 sq ft)||600|
|10||ICONSIAM||Thailand||Bangkok||2018||525,000 m2 (5,650,000 sq ft)||550+|
1. Iran Mall
GLA: 1,950,000m² (21,000,000 sq ft)
Location: Tehran, Iran
Iran Mall is the biggest mall in the world in terms of area, and it’s located in Tehran, the capital of Iran. Opened in 2018, this mall is tied for being the newest mall on this list with ICONSIAM in Thailand. The Iran Mall has almost 2 million square meters of gross leasable area, which is more than twice as much as the next biggest mall in the world.
There are over 700 stores in the Iran Mall and a wide variety of upscale facilities and amenities. Some noteworthy facilities in the mall are a hotel, an ice rink, a multiplex cinema, a bowling alley, a sports medicine clinic, and an exhibition center. Of the more unique attractions, the mall’s traditional bazaar probably tops the list.
The Iran Mall’s traditional bazaar is inspired by traditional markets in famous Iranian cities like Tabriz, Isfahan, and Shiraz. Iranian architecture that draws from traditional patterns and construction methods is featured.
The hotel in Iran Mall has a capacity of over 300 rooms in addition to residences and suites spread over 18 floors, and it is in the final stages of construction.
Official Mall Website: Iran Mall
2. IOI City Mall
GLA: 821,000 m² (8,840,000 sq ft)
Location: Sepang, Malaysia
IOI City Mall is the second-largest mall in the world in terms of gross leasable area, and it’s the biggest mall in Malaysia and Southeast Asia. The mall is located in Malaysia’s Southern Klang Valley and is intended to offer residents of the area a world-class shopping option without having to travel to Kuala Lumpur. The mall is in an area which should be able to service about 1.8 million people.
This mall was first opened in 2014, but renovations to the complex were completed in 2022. There are more than 650 shops in the mall which sell a huge range of products as well as some attractions that set it apart from others.
District 21 is a post-apocalypse theme park in IOI City Mall with a variety of adventure activities and is marketed toward group parties. There’s also an Olympic-sized ice rink, and something called the “IOI City Farm.” The farm is an exhibition that combines education and entertainment, featuring 70 different species of plants as well as some fish and small animals.
Cinemas, a sports center, and an exhibition hall are also among the attractions at IOI City Mall.
Official Mall Website: IOI City Mall
3. South China Mall
GLA: 659,611 m² (7,100,000 sq ft)
Location: Sepang, Malaysia
The South China Mall is the largest mall in China and the third-largest in the world. It is located in Dongguan’s Wangjiang District and was constructed on old farmlands. It is estimated to have cost about $1.3 billion to construct and is a project that was led by Hu Guirong, a businessman who had earned great wealth in the instant noodle industry.
There are a couple of things that make this mall special in addition to its size. One is that it is divided into seven zones, each modeled on a region or nation of the world: Amsterdam, Paris, Rome, Venice, California, Egypt, and the Caribbean. These themed areas include models or representations of iconic landmarks like the canals in Venice, the Arc de Triomphe, and the Sphinx.
Another interesting element of this massive mall is that it has been mostly empty since its opening in 2005. The vast majority of leasable space in the mall remained vacant even several years after the mall’s opening. One theory for this is that the mall is targeted toward more affluent customers though it is located in a city with a lower-income population.
Official Mall Website: South China Mall
4. Isfahan City Center
GLA: 600,000 m² (7,000,000 sq ft)
Location: Isfahan, Iran
Located in Isfahan, Iran, the Isfahan Shopping Center is the fourth-largest mall in the world and the second-largest in Iran after Iran Mall. It was initially opened in 2012, and the second phase of construction finished in 2019. This mall was designed by Medardo Cadiz, an architect with Cadiz International architectural firm.
In addition to hundreds of shops, the mall boasts some special features. One of these is a museum, which makes the Isfahan Shopping Center the largest shopping mall containing a museum in the world. The museum contains many different artifacts from Iran, some dating back to 7,000 years ago.
Other attractions in the mall are restaurants, airline offices, cinemas, an international financial center, a World Trade Center, and a theme park with rollercoasters, among others. The mall is spread out over an area of seven floors, and there is parking infrastructure to accommodate 5,500 cars.
Official Mall Website: Isfahan City Center
5. SM Mall of Asia
GLA: 589,891 m² (6,349,530 sq ft)
Location: Pasay, Philippines
At number five on this list of the world’s biggest malls is SM Mall of Asia, located in the city of Pasay in the Philippines. The mall covers a land area of 170 acres and has a gross floor area of nearly 600,000 square meters. Construction of the mall began in 1996, at which time it was planned to be the biggest mall in the world. It was the largest mall in the Philippines when it opened in 1996, a title it later lost and then regained in 2021.
More than just shopping venues, the mall also houses a great deal of space for conventions and social functions. It is the largest mall in the Philippines and welcomes hundreds of thousands of people each day.
A number of hotels, cinemas, an ice rink, four residential condominiums, office buildings, an amusement park, and an IKEA building are just some of the attractions at SM Mall of Asia.
There are four main buildings that make up this mall: the Main Mall, the Entertainment Mall, and the North and South Wing Parking Buildings. These are connected by sky bridges.
Official Mall Website: SM Mall Asia Official Website
6. SM Tianjin
GLA: 565,000 m² (6,080,000 sq ft)
Location: Tianjin, China
Similar to the SM Mall of Asia, SM Tianjin is part of the SM Supermalls chain of shopping malls based in the Philippines. It is one of the biggest operators of shopping malls in Southeast Asia, with around 100 malls in the Philippines and seven in China. SM Tianjin is the second-largest mall in China after the South China Mall and the sixth-largest in the world.
The SM mall in Tianjin was opened in 2006 in China’s New Binhai Area, the largest free trade zone in Northern China and a thriving business district. The mall is next to Tianjin Binhai International Airport and is accessible from both Beijing and Qinhuangdao with public transportation.
The buildings were designed by Arquitectonica, a world-renowned architecture firm. The design consists of three structures that look like the petals of a flower when viewed from above.
There are more than 8,000 parking spots available for shoppers at SM Tianjin, and there are more than 1,000 stores selling goods in the mall. Some of the other attractions in the mall include a skating rink and a kid-friendly Exploreum.
SM Malls China Website: SM Supermalls
7. Golden Resources Mall
GLA: 557,419 m² (6,000,010 sq ft)
Location: Beijing, China
Opened in 2004, the Golden Resources Mall in Beijing is the third-largest mall in China and comes in at number seven on this list. This mall was the largest in the world for a brief period before South China Mall opened the following year.
In part due to its location within Beijing, the mall didn’t attract a massive number of customers in its early days after opening. While it was expected that up to 50,000 visitors would come to the mall each day, the number was as low as 20 people per hour after the mall first opened.
Traffic has increased in the years since, partly because the city of Beijing has expanded and partly because the Chinese middle class has grown, making the products for sale in the mall affordable for a more significant number of people.
There are more than 1,000 shops in SM Tianjin, meaning shoppers can find just about anything they’re looking for. There are also some entertainment facilities like a skating rink, cinema, gym, and even a musical fountain.
8. Central WestGate
GLA: 550,278 m² (5,923,140 sq ft)
Location: Nonthaburi, Thailand
Central WestGate is the first of three malls in Thailand that are among the ten largest in the world. The mall was opened in 2015 and, after renovation and additions, surpassed CentralWorld to become Thailand’s largest mall in 2017. Central WestGate is located in Nonthaburi, which is a heavily populated Thai province just north of Bangkok. There are several motorways and high-traffic roads that connect near the mall, making it accessible to numerous people.
There are more than 650 stores in Central WestGate, and there’s also an IKEA store in the complex, which accounts for more than 50 thousand square meters of leasable space. There is also a cinema in this mall, a health club, and a wide range of dining options. The mall is four stories tall and also includes a playground for children.
Official Mall Website: Central WestGate
GLA: 550,000 m² (5,900,010 sq ft)
Location: Bangkok, Thailand
CentralWorld is the ninth-largest mall in the world and, opened in 1990, it is the oldest mall on this list by 15 years. When it was first opened the mall consisted of 8 stories, but there are now two skyscrapers that are also a part of the CentralWorld complex. All together, the entire complex has an area of over 1 million square meters. The mall is located in Bangkok, Thailand, as are three of the malls on this list.
The mall is home to 600 stores, some of which are the largest in the country or region. The Apple Store in CentralWorld is the largest in Southeast Asia, the Uniqlo store is the first in Thailand and the largest in Southeast Asia, and the H&M store is the third largest in the world.
There is also a 5-star hotel with 57 floors, and there are two Hindu shrines in the mall. An ice rink, a fitness club, and a 15-screen cinema round out some of the many additional attractions in Bangkok’s CentralWorld.
Official Mall Website: CentralWorld
GLA: 525,000 m² (5,650,010 sq ft)
Location: Bangkok, Thailand
ICONSIAM is another giant mall located in Bangkok Thailand. It is the third-biggest mall in Thailand and the tenth largest in the world. Opened in 2018, it’s also tied for being the newest mall on this list. The ICONSIAM complex is also noteworthy for having the tallest building in Thailand, the 70-floor Magnolias Waterfront Residences.
The mall itself hosts over 550 shops, which include the country’s first Apple Store and its first Siam Takashimaya department store. There is also a 3,000-seat exhibition hall, a heritage museum, and a riverside park in the complex. This mall complex is well connected to public transportation, and it’s even connected to peers that offer ferry service and docking for private boats.
Official Mall Website: ICONSIAM