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Atmosphere draws shoppers to China Malls

| Economic factors

Many consumers have opted to spend their hard-earned cash at China Malls in the Joburg area instead of conventional shopping centres around the city.

A visit to one of the many Chinese-owned centres found around the CBD quickly justifies why people come out in their numbers to support the shopping complexes. A carnival-like atmosphere welcomed The Star when we visited the China Mall in Mayfair.

Despite the chaotic traffic problems in the streets surrounding the multi-storey centre as well the parking lot inside as motorists battle to secure a parking spot, the lively encounters between those from different walks of life can be seen and heard in abundance.

Various fast-food outlets, ranging from Chinese to Indian cuisine, are stationed alongside the parking lot, allowing shoppers the opportunity to quench their thirst and hunger before indulging in shopping.

The dining experience is rather impromptu because of limited and mediocre seating, but some find the rustic eateries appealing.

While eating or parking the car, visitors can already plan their shopping for the day as the large collection of shops situated on the outside of the complex paints a fair picture of what the mall offers. In just one of the outside sections, several clothing, hardware, homeware, furniture and electronic shops are visible, with workers standing at the doors to welcome potential shoppers.

This is convenient for those who want to buy what they need and escape the crowds in the store. But those who choose to extend their shopping experience and enter the centre are rewarded with even more variety.

Those planning a party, looking for that perfect outfit with the accessories or redecorating their home will definitely find what they need at China Mall.

Many shoppers visit the centre because they consider it to be more affordable than conventional shopping centres. “Things are so much cheaper than normal shopping centres,” said Susan Moyce, one of the shoppers.

“Today I bought two pairs of pants and a dress for about R500, and in other malls, I could only get one pair of pants for that price,” she said.

The affordability and variety that China Mall offers also create a sense of camaraderie among shoppers and owners from various backgrounds.

Chen Xiaehui owns a party shop in the centre and has been running it since he came to the country about 15 years ago.

He left rural China as a young adult and made the trip to Joburg in the hope of a better life. He has achieved this by running a successful business and starting his own family. “We are very happy in South Africa and it has given us a good life,” he said.

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