Unlike ten years ago, China offers a range of options to high end retail brands who want to open a store. Retail landlords are not only targeting international medium to high end brands, but are also giving attention to design, creative and artistic aspects. All of these malls have their own advantages, and brands have to determine which location is the best based on their brand image, including positioning and retail design, as well as their planned expansion strategy. The following are some of the many options that brands have today.
Shinkong Place is currently on the forefront and has changed the retail landscape in Beijing since its opening in 2007. It is a standalone mall with the highest reported single mall revenue in China since 2011. In 2012, its revenue reportedly exceeded 7 billion Yuan (approx. 1.13 billion USD), increasing 12% year-on-year. Despite appearing like a shopping mall, Shingkong Place is operated as a department store. The landlord has put tireless efforts in continuously upgrading the premises, moving designer brands to higher floors in order to create space for a new Dior store. A Louis Vuitton flagship store is scheduled to open there this month.
Also ranking high in terms of sales, Yansha Youyi Shopping Center which exceeds Shinkong Place in revenues. The Yansha group comprises Beijing Yansha Liangma Shopping Center, the Beijing Yansha Jinyuan store and its Department Store in Taiyuan city in Shanxi province.
Located in the heart of Beijing’s Central Business District, at the bottom of the capital’s tallest building (China World Tower 3), China World Mall occupies a premium location in the city. Thanks to being situated in a business district, the mall has a steady customer flow. Chinese brand Shang Xia, who is backed by Hermes, decided to open its Beijing flagship store here. The store features a spectacular store design created by world renowned Japanese architect Kengo Kuma.
In Shanghai, Hong Kong Hanglung groups’s Plaza 66 undoubtedly lead the way as a first choice luxury retail location until IFC Mall opened. Plaza 66 is located at Shanghai’s prestigious Nanjing Xi Lu shopping street, among other high end retail malls. Louis Vuitton recently redesigned and expanded its store space there with a huge store front which is a great branding opportunity in this busy upscale shopping area. The store design for the 16th Maison of Louis Vuitton was created by Peter Marino.
Also in Shanghai and owned by Hong Kong’s Sun Hung Kai Properties, IFC Mall opened in 2010. The mall is located in Lujiazui financial district not far from the Pearl Tower, making it an interesting shopping destination for local affluent residents and tourists alike. Most top tier luxury brands have secured a store location in this mall.
Two groups who are operating shopping malls and should be watched are Charter and MIXC. Changchun-based Charter are a mainland Chinese group that have built up several successful malls in China’s North, before acquiring a property in Beijing’s West which is now also marketed under the Charter brand. In the cities in the North, Charter malls are first choice locations for high end brands.
MIXC are quite unique in their positioning, since they are one of the few landlords also targeting international medium and designer brands. Based in Shenzhen, the group has built successful malls in Hangzhou, Shenyang and Chengdu, and is developing in several other cities.
In the last few years, several new, exciting mall projects have been built. Two interesting examples are Parkview Green in Beijing and K11 in Shanghai, both exhibiting art pieces and attracting a new generation of international designer brands. By creating a flair of art and design, these malls successfully differentiate themselves and bring the shopping experience to a new level.
Barbara Seidelmann is based in China since 2005 and has been working with different luxury brands. At 5 Star Plus Retail Design she advises on the Chinese luxury retail market, setup of stores and visual identity.