China opens city-sized shopping mall, with fake sun

The New Century Global Center (top) looms over the Export-Import Bank of China in Chengdu, in southwest China’s Sichuan province.

(Credit: STR/AFP/Getty Images)

The international tallest building arms race has been dominated by Dubai, with its Burj Khalifa, for several years, but China has upped the ante by unveiling what it calls the world’s largest building.

The New Century Global Center building opened recently in Chengu, a city of more than 14 million people in southwest China’s Sichuan province. It’s described as “the world’s largest standalone structure” by Chinese officials and is 328 feet high, 1,640 feet long, and 1,312 feet wide.

While Boeing’s plant in Everett, Wash., is the world’s biggest building by volume, the Chinese mall seems to be tops in floor space. Almost the area of Monaco, its 420 acres of floor space could fit nearly three Pentagons, four Vatican Cities, or 20 Sydney Opera Houses.

The cavernous structure will feature a mix of retail outlets, a 14-screen movie theater, a university complex, offices, hotels, a water park called Paradise Island, a skating rink that’s big enough to host international competitions, a pirate ship, 15,000 parking spots, and even a fake Mediterranean village.

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