SM Prime spending P23 billion for 4 new malls in China

By Judith Balea, abs-cbnNEWS.com

Posted at Sep 26 2010 11:37 AM | Updated as of Sep 29 2010 12:47 AM

XIAMEN, China – The mall developing arm of tycoon Henry Sy is spending RMB3.6 billion, or about P23 billion, for 4 new malls in China.

SM Prime Holdings Inc. will build new malls in Tianjin, Suzhou, Chongqing and Shandong following the success of its 4 existing malls in Xiamen (SM City Xiamen and SM Lifestyle Center), Jinjiang, and Chengdu, said SM Shopping Center Management Corp. president Annie Garcia.

All 4 malls are expected to rise by 2013.

Garcia said they are in talks for another mall in Fuzhou, the capital of Fujian province.

Diane Dionisio, SM Prime’s vice president for finance for China projects, said the bulk of the spending budget, or about RMB2 billion, will be earmarked for the Tianjin mall.

This will be the largest mall so far for SM Prime, beating even the Mall of Asia in Manila.

The mall will rise on a 43-hectare lot in the 4th largest city of China and will have a gross floor area (GFA) of 530,000 square meters (sqm), larger compared to the 409,000 sqm of Mall of Asia.

Tianjin is about an hour by car from Beijing, the capital of China.

On the other hand, Dionisio said SM Suzhou will cost RMB450 million, with a GFA of 73,000 sqm.

The development of the mall will be more expensive because of the high cost of land, she noted.

The 150,000-sqm SM Chongqing, meanwhile, will require capital spending of RMB500 million, while the 170,000-sqm SM Shandong will have a price tag of RMB630 million.

Completion of the new malls is slated within a period of 3 years, with the one in Suzhou opening later this year, Chongqing in 2011, and Tianjin and Shandong in 2013.

Last September, SM Prime opened the RMB330-million SM Lifestyle Center, which is a stone’s throw away from SM City Xiamen, the company’s "most mature" and profitable mall in China.

Mall manager Marcus Dee said SM Lifestyle, which caters to the middle-upper class, has a GFA of 110,000 sqm and is already 80% occupied.