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PHOENIX-Globalization will dramatically affect said speakers at International Council of Shopping Centers Centerbuild conference, which opened here today. China and India have been the focus of growth outside North America, and will continue to dominate trends long-term.

“Global retail development is in overdrive,” said Rene Tremblay, ICSC chairman and president and chief executive officer of Montreal-based Ivanhoe Cambridge. “Developers, architects and retail consultants are crossing borders, and the level will rise globally.”

World-class shopping centers can now be found on virtually every continent, he noted, with Western-style centers growing at a “frenetic” pace in China and India. The international movement has been undertaken by retailers as well as developers, as all cross borders. Expansion has been further fueled by population growth.

But globalization has a down side, as well, said Gerald Celente, founder and director of the Trends Research Institute, Rhinebeck, NY. The current slow cycle is different from previous downturns because of international growth. Competition from Japan in the late 1970s cannot compare with the challenge China and India present today.

“We had time to recover then,” Celente said. “But we’ve just added 3.5 billion players to the market.”

Centerbuild, run annually by ICSC, is geared toward designers and developers worldwide. The conference, which concludes Saturday, has attracted more than 2,300 attendees.

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