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Model Hong Kong malls and their development in mainland China: consumer iconicity and the trans/national capitalist class

Global Networks

Published online on


Relational geographies of capital and consumption between Hong Kong and mainland China have been forming through tourism engagement in Hong Kong and the development of model Hong Kong malls in China. This analysis of urban restructuring for the consumer economy identifies how landmark Hong Kong malls are reproduced in major cities of China by networks of Hong Kong property firms and mainland elites. Adapting Leslie Sklair's formulation of architectural iconicity in the culture‐ideology of consumerism, this economic relationship, which restructures urban space, constructs iconic built forms and develops Chinese consumerism, marks hegemonic opportunities of a national capitalist class, suggesting how Chinese state capitalism and its Hong Kong networks limit and incrementally engage transnational capital while instantiating Hong Kong‐style consumer iconicity. New malls in mixed‐use developments in China often occupy sites of historical markets and thus affirm Sklair's prediction that iconic architecture increasingly proclaims consumer space while claiming historic forms of public space.