China is still the largest retail construction site in the world, with eight of the 10 most active cities globally. Mainland cities account for over half of all the shopping-centre space under construction in 180 cities surveyed by international consultancy CBRE. Global shopping-centre development continues apace, with 39 million square metres under construction, slightly more than the pipeline of 36 million square metres this time last year. This is the third year CBRE has measured the level of shopping-centre development. The survey was based on new centres of more than 20,000 square metres and excluded retail warehousing and factory outlet centres. Heading the list among mainland cities is Shanghai, where 3.3 million square metres is under construction, CBRE said. This is "more than the combined pipeline in the survey's 86 European cities [excluding those in Russia and Turkey]", it said. In second place is Chengdu in Sichuan province (3.2 million square metres), followed by Shenzhen (2.7 million square metres ) and Tianjin (2.5 million square metres). Six other mainland cities are due to deliver more than one million square metres each over the next three years. In terms of project completions, Chengdu ranked No 1 among the 180 cities, with just over one million square metres completed in seven centres. Tianjin was in second place, with Shanghai, Chongqing and Shenzhen not far behind, CBRE said. Meanwhile, another property consultancy, Cushman and Wakefield, estimated about 500,000 square metres of mid-level and high-end retail premises will enter the Beijing market this year. James Shepherd, executive director and head of research for Greater China, said: "This will possibly lead to growing downward pressure on rentals and an increase in vacancy rates. Market competition will further intensify with this large amount of new supply, posing greater challenges for developers and landlords." CBRE said the huge size of the global development pipeline is owing to a growing middle-class population in emerging markets, the urbanisation of large cities and a lack of high-quality retail space of the type demanded by cross-border retailers.