Hong Kong jeweller Chow Tai Fook invited to open second shopping mall in Shanghai Free Trade Zone

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 03 February, 2016, 6:32pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 03 February, 2016, 7:06pm

Two months after jeweller Chow Tai Fook set up its first shopping mall selling Hong Kong products in the Qianhai free-trade zone, it was offered opportunities by several mainland cities, including Shanghai, inviting it to build such malls in their free-trade zones, a senior management official at the company said.

Chan Sai-Cheong, Executive Director of Chow Tai Fook and who overlooks the company’s mainland operation, told the Post in a phone interview that “ [officials of] several free-trade zones of mainland cities have approached us, asking us to open a shopping mall there.”

This fulfilled the wish made by Adrian Cheng Chi-Kong, the third-generation heir of billionaire Cheng Yu-tung’s family, at the opening ceremony of its Qianhai shopping mall - HOKO, when he said if Shanghai offered an opportunity, he will consider opening such malls in their free-trade zone.

Unlike other traditional shopping malls, CTF’s HOKO mall provides two ways for customers to check out – the traditional “grab pay and go” model or and the online channel, under which customers order through a smartphone app and have the goods delivered to their home.

Hong Kong retailers, such as Sasa, Chow Tai Fook, ISA, G2000 are among the 21 tenants.

Retail prices of the online channel are typically cheaper than the traditional channel, as the Chinese government only applies a special “postal tax” for imported goods brought from the so-called cross-border e-commerce channel.

Otherwise, customers need to pay three types of taxes if they purchase imported goods from traditional channels, which are usually higher.

Despite the olive branch extended by the mainland free-trade zones, Chan said CTF will take its time before it decides on opening a second mall in other cities.

The business performance of its second phrase mall in Qianhai, which is set to launch before May, will be a testing ground, said Chan.

“We won’t rush in a hurry,” Chan said, adding the company didn’t have a timetable at the current stage.

Located in the same area in Qianhai, the second phase HOKO mall will double the size of its first one, occupying a 12,000 sq m area.

Chan said tenants would be more diversified compared to those in phase one as restaurants, supermarkets, automobile parts, electronics and furniture stores could be expected there.

But only 50 per cent of the spaces would be used for retail, Chan said. The other half would be reserved for projects that enhance customers’ experience.

He emphasised that the company won’t let too many milk powder retainers in just because their sales performances were among the best in its phase one mall.

Beside, a bauhinia garden featuring Hong Kong characteristics will be added to CTF’s Qianhai complex, outside its shopping mall, with a group of selected art pieces on display. He said the idea was initiated by Adrian Cheng Chi-Kong, who also added art pieces to Hong Kong’s K11 mall.