Shopping malls are popping up like mushrooms on a rainy day in Johor Bahru. Paradigm Mall, which has been regarded as the state's largest mall, opened its doors to shoppers last November.
Spanning over 1.3 million sq ft, the mall comprises of six floors with over 200 shops. Major tenants include Golden Screen Cinemas, Jaya Grocer, and Parkson. There's also an indoor skating ring.
Joining Paradigm Mall later this year is a new complex that will reportedly house "the largest indoor theme park in Southeast Asia"
Capital 21, developed by Capital World, will begin operations in August this year, Channel NewsAsia reported.
The 1.2 million sq ft building located in Tampoi, Johor Bahru will include MCM Studio, touted as "the largest indoor theme park in Southeast Asia" and a shopping complex.
Taking the entire third and fourth floor of the mall, MCM Studio will feature three main sections - Movie Planet, Cartoon Planet, and Music Planet
Cartoon Planet is aimed at children and will include animated characters including 'Tom and Jerry'.
Movie Planet will feature Transformers, Dinosaur World, and Haunted House themed attractions and will make use of augmented and virtual reality technologies (VR).
Music Planet will feature a circus tent with daily performances from local and foreign acts such as the Great British Circus. The section will also host music and theatre events.
Besides the theme park, Capital 21 will showcase five thematic zones - America, Europe, Australia, Asia, and the Middle East - through three floors of retail space
There's no doubt that Capital 21 will face strong competition from recently launched malls in Johor Bahru such as Paradigm Mall and IKEA. However, its executive director Siow Chien Fu maintained that entertainment is the mall's comparative advantage.
"We have to appeal to the modern shopper. With the rise of online shopping and e-commerce, we changed strategy many years ago. Our competitors mostly have one component - but we have many," he said.
Siow also revealed that 80% of the retail space has been taken up. He did not disclose the name of the retailers.
Siow is confident that the mall would appeal to Singaporeans as it is only a 20-minute drive from the Woodlands Causeway
"We focus on nostalgic elements that many modern theme parks no longer have - like the circus. Singaporeans who still see the charm of the older type of theme park will visit Capital City. We are confident they will," he added.
Johor is not the only state that's getting more malls. Here's a look at some of the upcoming shopping centres in the Klang Valley:
Sadly, older retail establishments are finding hard to stay afloat amidst strong competition and the unstable economy: