Business & Economy

Bangkok aims to become ‘luxury mecca’ with shopping mall boom

By Nayara Batschke and Nutsaba Thongyai

Bangkok, Jun 21 (EFE).- Despite the acceleration of digital commerce and the moment of decline shopping centers are seeing in countries such as the United States, Bangkok is committed to their massive expansion with which the Thai capital hopes to establish itself as a Southeast Asian “mecca of luxury.”

Bangkok plans to inaugurate at least five megaprojects in 2023 to reshape the urban landscape and become a point of reference among expatriates, locals and tourists in the shopping sector, especially luxury.

Private investment in the commercial construction service is expected to grow in the capital between 3 percent and 4 percent in 2023 and 2024, encouraged by growing demand and in line with the “rebound in the tourism sector and consumption” after Covid-19, according to a June 2022 report from Krungsri bank.

Likewise, the retail sector, represented to a large extent by shopping centers, corresponds to about 16.7 percent of Thai GDP and, only in 2021, moved a commercial flow of about $77 billion.

This was enough to put the retail sector in second place in terms of its importance to the Thai economy, only after manufacturing, which accounts for 27 percent of GDP.

Thus, more and more, the metropolis with 11 million inhabitants is consolidating itself as an important commercial “hub” in Asia, where shopping guides abound with titles such as “Inside the 7 most luxurious shopping centers in Bangkok” or “Luxury in Bangkok: Glamor and exclusivity in Thailand.”

Opulent buildings erected parallel to the train tracks line its streets and display huge and luminous signs with the names of the most exclusive brands, such as Gucci, Prada, Armani, Channel, Tiffany & Co., among others.

In a movement contrary to that observed in some parts of the world, hit by the expansion of electronic commerce, generalized inflation and less citizen consumer power, the expansion of the sector in Thailand contrasts with the mass closure of shopping centers in countries such as the United States and some places in Europe.

But in the luxury capital, the sky is the limit.

Among the megaprojects planned for 2023 are the opening of the Bangkok Mall, in the final phase of construction and which aims to become the largest shopping center in Southeast Asia, and the Emsphere, a “state-of-the-art” facility in the heart of the metropolis.

Considered one of the main operators of luxury shopping centers in Thailand, The Mall group is behind the construction of three of these giant shopping complexes, including Emsphere, which will open its doors in December and already accumulates investments for $435 million.

The group also announced an investment of another $580 million destined to the renovation of two important shopping centers in the extreme east and west of the city, an initiative with which it seeks to add to Bangkok’s urban scene. EFE.


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