Chinese billionaire and Dalian Wanda Group Co. Ltd. Founder and Chairman Wang Jianlin vowed the company would open 1,000 shopping malls in China by 2028, laying down the target during a conference in Nanjing on Dec. 19.
Wang said the company has been accelerating the opening of its brand of Wanda Plaza shopping malls since 2016. Traditionally, Wanda launched no more than 25 malls annually, but in 2016 and 2017, the Chinese giant opened more than 50 malls each year.
"The expansion of Wanda Plaza malls will significantly speed up from  and [we will open] 1,000 malls in 10 years," Wang said, "We expect to attract 13 billion to 15 billion in foot traffic levels annually by that time."
He also noted that Wanda's malls are now spreading to China's third- and fourth-tier cities, as well as other lower-tier cities. Wanda has opened 231 Wanda Plaza projects in Chinese cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu and Kunming, according to its website.
In the future, Wang said the company would be focusing on adding experimental elements and cultural content, such as amusement facilities and mini-museums, to its malls. But the chairman also added that he did not think physical shops were being threatened by competition from the e-commerce industry.
"In the past two years, it seems that brick and mortar businesses have re-boomed as many internet enterprises and giants have shifted their focus toward offline expansion," Wang said. "As a representative of China's brick-and-mortar business, Wanda has suffered very little [to] even no impact from e-commerce in recent years."
At the same conference, Wanda also announced its strategic partnership with big-box retailer Suning Commerce Group Co. Ltd., which will kick off in 2018 and see Wanda building tailor-made shopping centers for Suning.