New World in big ‘mil­len­nial’ push

HK prop­erty, re­tail gi­ant to un­furl its K11 con­cept across Chi­nese main­land over next 5 years

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - BUSINESS - By SO­PHIE HE in Shang­hai so­phiehe@chi­nadai­lyhk.com

Hong Kong prop­erty, ho­tel and re­tail con­glom­er­ate New World De­vel­op­ment is poised to thrust its pop­u­lar K11 shop­ping mall brand — the brain­child of the group’s Ex­ec­u­tive Vice-Chair­man Adrian Cheng Chi-kong, founder of K11 and K11 Art Foun­da­tion — across the Chi­nese main­land over the next five years as it con­tin­ues to ride on the la­bel’s grow­ing image.

Ac­cord­ing to Cheng — a grand­son of the late Ne w World Group pa­tri­arch Cheng Yu-tung — more than 16 K11 malls will roll out in at least half a dozen top and sec­ondtier main­land cities from 2017.

“This is be­cause we’ve been very suc­cess­ful here in Shang­hai, where we have cre­ated a cul­tural hub,” Cheng told China Daily ear­lier this week af­ter a launch­ing cer­e­mony for Vivi­enne West­wood’s “Get A Life” Ex­hi­bi­tion at K11 Shang­hai.

At present, there are two K11 shop­ping malls in China — one in Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong, which opened in 2009 and claimed to be the world’s “first art mall”, and the other in Shang­hai, which went into ser­vice in mid-2013.

New World says it has cre­ated an “art x com­merce” busi­ness model, calling it a “mu­seum re­tail” con­cept. By in­tro­duc­ing a host of art works and or­ga­niz­ing art ex­hi­bi­tions at th­ese malls, it has man­aged to en­hance its con­nec­tion with young cus­tomers, and the model has been a suc­cess story, par­tic­u­larly in Shang­hai.

In the past three years, K11 Shang­hai has seen its rev­enue grow in dou­ble-digit per­cent­age terms an­nu­ally, draw­ing an av­er­age of 1.5 mil­lion vis­i­tors monthly this year, Cheng said.

He pointed out that K11 is fo­cused on at­tract­ing mil­len­ni­als — those from early 1980s to late 1990s gen­er­a­tion who are not only in­ter­ested in pur­chas­ing goods, but also fond of the cul­tural and his­tory be­hind the prod­ucts. They want unique, tai­lor-made, per­son­al­ized shop­ping ex­pe­ri­ence and, by in­tro­duc­ing the “mu­seum re­tail” con­cept, cus­tomers are bet­ter en­gaged with K11, said Cheng.

Hope­fully, the (K11) brand it­self will be­come both a cul­tural and an art iden­tity.”

K11 has built up a very strong con­tem­po­rary Chi­nese cul­tural eco sys­tem, and it’s very con­fi­dent of spread­ing such a sys­tem to other main­land cities, he said.

New World will launch K11 shop­ping malls in Shenyang, Wuhan and Guangzhou this year, while K11’s so­cial, in­no­va­tive and sus­tain­able busi­ness model will help the com­pany start K11 of­fices, as well as K11 art stores it al­ready has.

“Hope­fully, the brand it­self will be­come both a cul­tural and an art iden­tity,” Cheng said.

K11 shop­ping malls are also due to go up in Bei­jing, Tian­jin and Ningbo in the next five years, Cheng said, ex­plain­ing that the fo­cus will be on fir­stand sec­ond-tier main­land cities for the time be­ing.

“We’ve said we will have 16 (K11 projects) in the next five years, but there could be more, as you can see that New World De­vel­op­ment has ten­dered for more land on the main­land.”

Giuseppe Arag­oni, group com­mer­cial di­rec­tor of Vivi­enne West­wood, said K11 is a perfect place for it to hold the ex­hi­bi­tion, as the brand shares the same in­ter­est in the en­vi­ron­ment as Vivi­enne West­wood.

“It’s very wise for us to co­op­er­ate with K11 in or­der to com­mu­ni­cate with peo­ple who know this bet­ter than we do. We had wanted to be here in the be­gin­ning as we think this is a great lo­ca­tion to be in,” Arag­oni said.

PRO­VIDED TO CHINA DAILY

The K11 Mall in Tsim Sha Tsui opened in 2009, claim­ing to be the world’s “first art mall”. Its founder said more than 16 K11 malls will roll out in at least half a dozen top and sec­ond-tier Chi­nese main­land cities from 2017.

Adrian Cheng Chi-kong, founder of K11 and K11 Art Foun­da­tion

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