Hong Kong businessman and retail tycoon Adrian Cheng has had a successful 2020 despite all the obstacles. The real estate billionaire explains how to stand out in China, how Hong Kong's economy is still growing despite political unrest and Covid-19. Cheng's K11 shopping malls reported 56 percent sales growth in the second half of 2020, despite a disastrous year for Hong Kong retail. The latter having encountered a 25.3% drop in sales in the first 11 months of the year, a fourth wave of Covid-19 infections, a drop in tourist flows and a new national security law adding to the unstable sociopolitical climate.
The company's impressive statistics despite the crisis
Current CEO of jewelry company Chow Tai Fook and real estate group New World Development, Adrian Cheng, who launched the high-end mall brand K11 Group in 2008, said sales at his new K11 Musea mall rose 60 percent in November and 21 percent in December. On average, 1.4 million people visited it each month.
To be fair, this is comparable to the increase when the pro-democracy protests began in November and December 2019. However, even the more experienced K11 Art Mall, which debuted in Hong Kong in 2009, saw its sales essentially stagnate in December compared to the previous year. Sales at the five K11 residences in mainland China rose 34 percent, keeping pace with a broader recovery in the luxury market.
What initiatives has the contractor taken?
When Covid-19 began to hit mainland China and Hong Kong in March, the group reacted quickly, according to Cheng, who praises the agility of his young management team. Soon after, K11 Go, a component of the company's WeChat software, was launched. It allows users to purchase specific items, participate in live events and take virtual art tours across China. As a result, the group's Internet sales have increased by 50%. By using live-streaming, virtual exhibitions and strong community pressure, they were able to change their strategy immediately, and it was an incredible success, he says.