Dubai' Mall of the World project, encompassing 8 million square feet (745,000 square metres) of shopping space connected to a theme park, 100 hotels and serviced apartment buildings with 20,000 rooms, was announced in mid-2014.
"We will be reacting to the demands of the market. The project is massive and complex and will have to be built in stages," said Ahmad bin Byat, Vice-Chairman and Managing Director of Dubai Holding.
He predicted it would still become the world's largest shopping destination, adding that the first phase - representing about a quarter of the project's size - would be completed before Dubai hosts the Expo 2020 exhibition.
Plans for the remainder "will be dependent on market dynamics," Byat told a news conference, saying the project would be funded through an equal split of his company's internal resources, institutional investors and debt.
He estimated the total bill would be nearly Dh80 billion ($22 billion) and that Dubai Holding would provide 'just shy' of Dh30 billion.
"We're talking to advisors, financial investors, sovereign funds, many people," Byat said. "We have a lot of understandings with quite a few people. This is a mixed-use project which will be very interesting not only to locals but for the global market to invest in."