|Shoppers tour Starfield Hanam, southeast of Seoul, during a pre-opening event, Monday. Shinsegae and Taubman invested a combined 1 trillion won ($910 million) to open Korea's largest shopping mall by floor space. Starfield Hanam will officially open its door on Friday. / Yonhap|
By Lee Hyo-sik
Shinsegae is betting big on Starfield Hanam, the so-called shopping-themed entertainment park, southeast of Seoul, to outdo its archrival Lotte amid the prolonged domestic consumption slump.
Starfield Hanam, the nation's largest shopping complex by floor space, aims to attract shoppers in Seoul and Gyeonggi Province where more than half of Korea's 52 million people reside, according to Shinsegae officials, Monday.
They say the mall will earn more than 820 billion won (745 million) in sales during its first year, adding that Shinsegae will open more such facilities in the coming years, nurturing the Starfield brand as its new growth engine.
"Starfield Hanam has everything that shoppers are looking for in one place," Yim Young-rok, vice president of Shinsegae Property, which oversees the mall's operations, said during a pre-opening event. "We have a department store, luxury brand shops, an electronics store, automobile showrooms, a water park, a cinema, a food court and many more places that enable us to provide a great shopping experience."
It is built on an 118,000 square-meter site in Hanam, Gyeonggi Province, housing 750 brands, ranging from fashion and cosmetics to food and electronics. Its floor space totals 460,000 square meters, the largest among shopping centers in Korea.
"In addition, Starfield Hanam can accommodate about 6,200 vehicles at once," Yim said. "The mall has convenient access to nearby expressways and multiple local roads, making it easier for 4.3 million people residing within 20 kilometers to come and enjoy its state-of-the-art facilities."
It will attract more than 12 million visitors annually, including Chinese and Japanese tourists, the vice president said, adding that it has created more than 5,000 new jobs.
Using the success of Starfield Hanam, Shinsegae and its business partner Taubman, the U.S.-based shopping mall developer, plan to build two more shopping complexes, in Goyang, Gyeonggi Province, and Cheongna International City in Incheon.
Shinsegae has a 51-percent stake in Starfield Hanam and Taubman the remaining 49 percent.
"I am glad to witness the successful opening of Starfield Hanam," said Peter Degalan, chief investment officer at Taubman Asia. "We are proud to be Shinsegae's partner in creating this wonderful shopping mall. Shinsegae came to us first because Hanam City required it to find a foreign investor for the construction of a large-scale shopping center. We made the right decision to be involved in this project."
Degalan said Taubman has not decided yet whether to invest in the planned Starfield malls. "We are still talking with Shinsegae about our further commitments to the upcoming Starfield malls. I believe that the Starfield brand will lead Korea's shopping trend and offer a new experience for local consumers."