BANGKOK Hoping to capitalise on growing regional interest in South Korean pop culture, a Thai company opened a $275-million Korean-themed shopping mall and entertainment complex in Bangkok on Monday.
The 180,000 square metre (1.9 million square feet) building targets both Thai fans of K-Culture and foreign visitors. It hopes to get 10 million visitors a year and become a major attraction in what was the world's most visited city last year.
"A lot of Asian people are fans of Korea," said Chayaditt Hutanuwatra, chairman of privately-owned SHOW D.C. Corp Ltd. "Thailand is the place where people can just fly in."
The mall has stores with clothing, cosmetics and restaurants from Korean brands and K-pop artists. It has statues and palm prints of Korean stars and plans to bring Korean performers in to the floor it has dedicated as a concert hall.
South Korea's Lotte Group is among the companies that will open a store there, the mall said.
Around a third of the more than 34 million tourists forecast to visit Thailand this year are from China - where interest in K-Culture has been driven underground by a recent row over Seoul's deployment of a missile defence system.
($1 = 34.6500 baht)
(Reporting by Juarawee Kittisilpa; Editing by Mark Potter)