British architecture firm Benoy has released its plans for a massive retail complex near Sanya, a resort city in China's Hainan province.
Covering an area the size of eight soccer pitches on Haitang Bay, one of five bays around Sanya, on the southern tip of Hainan, it will include shops, markets and entertainment venues.
The Chinese national beach volleyball team trains in Sanya, and it is popular with holidaymakers because of its tropical climate, luxury hotels and sandy beaches.
Benoy is the firm behind Westfield, the largest shopping center in London, and was established in the United Kingdom in the late 1980s. It has nine international offices, including ones in Beijing and Shanghai. The China International Travel Service commissioned the firm. Construction will start this year.
Ferdinand Cheung, a director at Benoy, said: "Our vision is to bring a completely new experience and break the mold for retail-led tourism developments in Haitang Bay. The scheme will provide visitors with a concept not yet seen before in this area."
The center will stand on a reclaimed island, connected to the shore via three bridges. It will combine "canopies inspired by seashells" with outdoor spaces, and take into account prevailing winds and the path of the sun, to ensure natural ventilation. It will also have a covered market that will feature produce from local fish farms.
Janet Chan, senior associate director at Benoy, said: "The canopy designs have not only allowed us to fulfill the brief for the project environmentally бн but they also bring a real identity to the scheme."
Sanya is the seventh most visited destination in China for overseas tourists, according to the China National Tourism Administration. The city received 7.8 million overnight tourists in the first half of 2016, a growth rate of 8.9 percent year-on-year. Among them, 192,000 overseas tourists, up 13.6 percent year-on-year.
Fan Mu, director of the Sanya Tourism Development Commission, said: "The investment we have put into positioning Sanya as a major international tourist destination is beginning to show returns."
Tourism has benefitted from 17 new overseas air routes since 2015, including direct flights to Frankfurt.