BEKAA--As of March 2019, approximately 400 companies from China have signed a lease in the Cascada Mall of Zahle in the Bekaa Valley in order to develop a Chinese market, soon to be known as "Chinatown."
The market will offer various products from China, including clothing, gadgets, furniture, and interior decor. It's anticipated that it will be comparable to Dubai's Dragon Mart, which is the largest Chinese market outside of China. However, it will be on a smaller scale, as the area of the Cascada Mall consists of around 60,000 square meters--still sizeable, but not as massive as Dubai's.
For those who like to find a bargain, this is an exciting new marketplace for Lebanon and the Middle East, as Chinese products tend to be inexpensive, and certainly less costly than the goods that come from Europe and North America.
According to Maurice Torbey, Chairman of Cascada Inter Mall, "The Chinese are entering the markets of Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and Iraq through our premises."
In addition, the Chinese investors plan to double the size of the market in the foreseeable future. The lease they have signed spans over a 15-year period.
"The Chinese have asked us to secure an additional 60,000 square meters in Cascada Village," Torbey said. "This would double the investment."
What does that mean for Lebanon? It's estimated that this new business venture will create around 5,000 jobs; a considerable amount of opportunity for the Bekaa region. Moreover, real estate experts have approximated its yearly value to be between $12 and $15 million.
The endeavor is expected to be operational around the end of this month, which is fast approaching. The stores that are currently occupying the Cascada Mall will remain in business until then.
This is exciting news for Lebanon and will surely enrich its diverse shopping culture while also creating more opportunities for the Lebanese economy and its people.