Property developer EMAAR Properties announced  on Sunday "The Dubai Mall" will cover 810,000 square metres - the size of more than 50 soccer pitches. 

The mega-mall will nestle in the shadow of the Burj Dubai, the world's tallest tower, on which work is due to begin in coming weeks.

"We are expecting an annual footfall of thirty-five million visitors in the first full year of business and an annualised growth in mall traffic of about 20 to 30 percent," said Ibrahim al-Hashimi, executive director at EMAAR Properties.

"Tourism is the engine driving Dubai's growth. We have a huge potential audience. Some 3.2 billion consumers armed with a collective gross domestic product of 18.3 trillion will be knocking on our door.

"Daring planning is needed to win the global luxury tourism industry over. The Dubai Mall and Burj Dubai make this possible," he said.

An EMAAR statement waxed lyrical about the colossus but gave no date for construction to start.

"Like a majestic ocean liner coming into view, the leviathan will be anchored by a waterfront atrium providing spectacular views of Burj Dubai and the surrounding skyline, and an aquarium of glass tunnels to wander among sharks and stingrays," it said.

To keep the tills ringing behind the three-level glass facade, however, the mall will also boast the largest gold souq (market) on earth, it said.

The mall, with underground parking for 16,000 cars and more outside, will rise beside a giant artificial lake.

"The development will attempt to transform Dubai from shopping capital of the Middle East to shopping capital of the world," EMAAR said.

Dubai, which already has 40 malls for a population of one million people, stages an annual shopping festival which rakes in incremental sales of more than one billion dollars.