China’s ‘Lifestyle’ Malls Cater to the Desires of the Modern Chinese Shopper

on April 3 2015 | in Retail Trends | by | with No Comments

Daci Temple, Chengdu, China, shopping mall, luxury shopping mall, Swire Properties,

Due to the explosive growth in shopping malls in China and the country’s e-commerce boom, Chinese shopping malls have found creative ways to lure in customers.

The most important aspect of these shopping malls’ strategies is changing the focus from consumption to creating a social environment where shoppers can spend time with friends and family, according to South China Morning Post.

The trailblazer for this trend was Shui On Group’s Xintiandi shopping district in Shanghai, opened over a decade ago, which integrated into the design tiles and facades from the 1920s and 1930s shikumen (stone warehouse gate) housing. Mixed with the traditional design, Xintiandi offers shopping, dining, and entertainment to guests.

The new crop of lifestyle malls has taken Xintiandi’s model even further.

Opened in 2013, Shanghai’s K11 Art Mall, built by Hong Kong’s Adrian Cheng Chi-kong and designed by Kokaistudios, features extensive gallery space that features local artists’ works as well as blockbuster exhibits such as the display of Impressionist painter Claude Monet’s works. The mall also features an urban farm and intricate landscaping as part of its “art, people, and nature” philosophy alongside more modern amenities such as  interactive video games.

Like Xintiandi, Chengdu’s Taikoo Li mixed-use retail complex, which is owned by Swire Properties, has combined Chinese heritage with modern convenience.  Centered around the 1,000-year-old Daci Temple and six other historic buildings, the 250,000 square meter pedestrian-only retail village offers shoppers “fast lanes” for shopping and “slow lanes” for socializing. The “fast lane” paths lead to high-end luxury boutiques and high-energy public performances, whereas the “slow lanes” lead visitors into the Daci Temple and al fresco cafes.

“Stuffing a shopping mall with luxury brands is outdated,” said Swire Properties retail director Alvin Kong. “People should be able to come and buy things but also to meet friends, have a coffee or read a book. It is more about city living.”

Oval Partnership director Lin Hao, who led the Taikoo Li design team, echoed Kong’s sentiments, “The iconic shopping mall tower typology is old-fashioned, so we opened the ‘box’ and integrated inside and outside.”

The Taikoo Li retail development will soon be joined by a combined 100-room hotel and 42-apartment residential development and a 47-story tall office building.

image credit: swire properties

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