The Taipei 101 Mall opened yesterday with applause from politicians who said the center puts Taiwan on the map.
President Chen Shui-bian (
"It is not only a landmark of Taipei but a sign of Taiwan's development and prosperity. It is Taiwan's asset and pride," Chen said.
Speaking at the same ceremony, Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou (
Taipei 101 is expected to have only a brief reign as the world's tallest building, however, having surpassed Malaysia's 452m Petronas twin towers when its top was put on earlier this year.
In 2008, India will best Taiwan with the 224-story Centre of India Tower in Katangi, projected to stand 676m.
Hu Jone-hui, from the Tao Architects and Planners, said the craze for building skyscrapers in Asia was about national pride, not commercial logic or even safety.
"Building the world's tallest skyscraper is traditionally a way for a developing capitalist society to show off its wealth and attract attention. For a country that is seeking to advance itself to the rank of developed countries, such a symbolic building is considered a [source of] pride," Hu said.
The five-story, 23,000-ping mall sits at the base of the 508m tower, which will open to the public next year.
The mall features 161 stores and will carry numerous international brands, offers 12 restaurants and one international bookstore.
John Sironic, general manager of the mall, said initial response from tenants has been better than expected.
The mall already has 93 percent occupancy and is targeting annual sales of NT$16 billion to NT$19 billion in its first year, he said.
1. Taipei 101, 509m
2. Petronas Towers, Kuala Lumpur, 452m
3. Sears Tower, Chicago, 442m
4. Jin Mao Tower, Shanghai, 421m
5. Two International Finance Centre, Hong Kong, 415m
The shopping complex is expected to draw up to 200,000 people per day, said Scott Chen (陳文光), a vice commercial president of Taipei Financial Centre Co, the owner of the mall.
"We will have 19 luxury brands setting up their flagship stores in the mall," Chen said.
The mall's tenants are optimistic about the success of the complex.
"As Taipei 101 is a landmark for Taiwan, it is a great attraction to people and top customers," said Pure Tsai (
Evan Chen (
Yesterday's opening attracted people from around the country.
Lin Si-yin (林思吟) and Chien I-ju (簡臆如), two 26-year-old salespeople from Kaohsiung and Taichung, respectively, said the mall's design and layout were attractive.
Chang Hao-zi (
For Pacific Sogo Department Store Group, the new outlet within the mall is not expected to affect its Chunghsiao East Road location, Sogo chairman Chung Chin (
"We expect to create an annual turnover of NT$500 million to NT$600 million in the first year by offering quality cosmetics, lingerie and spa services in the 800-ping outlet," Chung said.
Rival Shin Kong Mitsukoshi Department Store said it is not concerned over the mall's opening. Shin Kong has two department stores in the Hsinyi district and is expected to launch a third department store by the end of the year.