The UK’s largest shopping centre is to be bought by China’s Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.
as the nation’s biggest mall operator faces an imminent collapse of the former operator.
The Taishan shopping centre in Shanghai is to become a Chinese subsidiary of Alibaba Group Holdings Ltd, which is owned by Chinese billionaire Wang Jianlin.
The Taishan mall in central China’s Hebei province is already struggling with a lack of footfall after the former owner, Chinese conglomerate Taishansha Group Holding Co, announced in September that it had collapsed and had been unable to recover the $1.7 billion it had spent on renovation work.
Taishan, which was opened in 1972 and is the world’s biggest luxury shopping centre, had been owned by the Chinese conglomerate for more than 20 years, and had also been the site of major renovations in recent years, including the opening of a second mall.
“We have no plans to stop in China,” Alibaba Group Chairman Wang Jianliang told the Xinhua news agency on Friday.
“We will build a new Taishhan mall that will offer a new experience to the Chinese people, including a better shopping experience,” he added.
Alibaba Group, a unit of Alibaba Holding Group Ltd, said it will sell Taishankan’s assets to the new company on Wednesday.
Alibaba will continue to own Taishashan and operate it as it is, according to a statement.
The sale of Taishanyan, the world-famous shopping centre built in 1972 by Wang, a member of the Communist Party’s Central Committee, was announced in March.
It is the second major shopping centre sale in the past three years.
Taishashansha, which operated Taishanchan for more, also announced in November it had shut its doors.
It was the first major mall to shut down in China in recent times.
A spokesman for Taishasha declined to comment on the sale.
Taishan was the world headquarters of Alibaba’s e-commerce division, which had operations in over 60 countries.
Its sale comes just days after a group of former Chinese businessmen, including Wang and a former chief executive, sold a majority stake in Taishuan.
Taisha, which will remain in operation until 2020, has been one of the busiest shopping centres in the world, attracting shoppers from across the globe.