PROPERTY giant SM Prime Holdings Inc. said on Monday it has opened its seventh mall in China, reflecting its strong confidence in the Chinese economy.
In a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange on Monday, SM Prime said it soft-opened SM City Tianjiin on Saturday, adding a total of 565,000 square meters of gross floor area (GFA) to the company’s China malls portfolio.
This brings SM Prime’s combined China malls GFA to 1.5 million square meters. Among its malls in China are SM City Xiamen, SM City Jinjiang, SM City Chengdu, SM City Suzhou, SM City Chongqing and SM City Zibo.
SM Prime president Jeffrey Lim said the newest mall opening “gives SM Prime a wider perspective on China’s shopping culture, allowing us to capture bigger opportunities as an international integrated property developer.”
The company said that consumer spending growth in China is driving SM Prime’s expansion in that country.
“From 2000 to 2010, China’s consumption grew from around $650 billion to $1.4 trillion, creating the largest consumer market in the world,” SM Prime said “China’s consumption has been growing faster than any other country’s in absolute terms.”
SM City Tianjin is located within the Tianjin Airport Economic Area at the emerging Binhai New Area, the largest free trade zone in Northern China. The area is a thriving central business district where international corporations in logistics and financial services are setting up offices, according to SM Prime.
“Considered as a ‘new economic pole’ along the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone and
Shanghai Pudong New Area, the Binhai New Area is home to over 2,000 enterprises from 130 countries,” the company said.
SM Prime said the new China mall offers shoppers accessibility as it is adjacent to the airport and can be reached through the cities of Beijing and Qinhuangdao via buses, expressways and high-speed railways.
It said the new mall was 60 percent occupied upon the soft opening over the weekend.
“SM City Tianjin opened with anchor tenants such as Dadi IFree Cinema, Bravo Yonghui Supermarket, Jiawen, FTZ Korea World, Decathlon, Acasia Food Court and Watsons. It also features a kid-friendly Exploreum, Wellness tenants, a skating rink, as well as 8,110 parking slots for the shoppers,” the property development firm said.
The company’s latest China mall was designed by ARQ, a world-renowned design agency.
“SM City Tianjin has three structures that are positioned that looks like a large blossoming flower from above, symbolizing growth and new opportunities,” SM Prime said.
Together with its Philippine mall portfolio, SM Prime has a combined GFA of 9.1 million square meters. The company has a total of 60 malls in the Philippines, four of which were opened this year.
SM malls that opened in 2016 are SM City East Ortigas in Pasig City with a GFA of more than 80,000 sqm; SM Cherry Congressional in Quezon City with more than 13,000 sqm in GFA; SM City San Jose Del Monte in Bulacan with 101,000 sqm in GFA; and SM City Trece Martires in Cavite with 84,000 sqm in GFA.
In a separate statement on Monday, the company’s recreational arm, SM Lifestyle Entertainment Inc. (SMLEI), announced the launch of its first concept cinema, the Cafe Cinema at the SM Mall of Asia, over the weekend.
SMLEI said the Cafe Cinema concept is offered in the brand new Cinema 7 and Cinema 8 of SM MOA, which provides a total of 153 seats each.
The Cafe Cinema features a big lounge area with dining seats where moviegoers can grab a meal while waiting for the movie screening.
SMLEI president Edgar Tejerero earlier disclosed that the company is looking to launch new cinema concepts which include the cafe cinema and a children’s cinema.
Tejerero noted that these new cinema concepts will be offered in 12 of SM’s major malls by next year.