How China Is Creating New Luxury Hotspots

Key Takeaways:

  • At the heart of luxury brands is a social agenda that aligns perfectly with China’s national policy for urban renewal.

  • China’s focus on urban renewal has become crucial after the devastating effects COVID-19 had on the mental well-being of locals.

  • With the Xuhui district enjoying modern amenities today, it has become a perfect model for urban renewal across the country.

In cities across China — particularly the large ones like Shanghai and Beijing — several out-of-touch groups are still unaware of the country’s changing styles.

Yet things have been changing for the better. These cities are becoming new hotspots for various activities now that high-end global luxury brands like Prada and Gucci have set up pop-up stores or organized events to showcase their collections there.

As a result, these citizens are becoming more refined. Undoubtedly, this scenario is a blessing for a luxury sector eager to become a part of the Chinese government’s extensive development program, launched eleven years ago during the Shanghai World Expo.

At the heart of these luxury brand strategies lies a social agenda that aligns perfectly with China’s national urban renewal policy, which talks about changing the quality of life for the people living in these areas while creating a vibrant scope for business post-lockdown. In fact, it has been fashion and art coming together that has helped revive the architectural beauty of these vicinities.

Dior led the way

This March, the French luxury brand Dior staged its first-ever international event, titled “Villa Dior” — an extremely private spring show for VIPs, held at BAIwork at 133 Sichuan Middle Road.

Dior held a special Spring VIP exhibition at the BAIwork located on Sichuan Middle Road, a neoclassical house built in 1921. Photo: BaiWORK, Global Times

And the show was a huge success. The brand showcased its heritage and craftsmanship alongside a massive collection of fine jewelry & watches, a part of its universally popular Rose Dior Collection. Each item in the collection glorified the essence of feminine beauty. Meanwhile, the renovation work of this great historic building was done by Shanghai Bailian Asset Holding Co., Ltd. (BLAH) under the aegis of its CEO Cheng Dali.

“We’re proud to have collaborated with Dior on this important project in China,” said Cheng Dali. “While this joint venture revealed our global aspirations, it also brought to light how committed and serious we are when it comes to modernizing each neighborhood in our cities.”

And in May, at the coffee shop Jiya Wukang Road in Shanghai, Prada held a long-awaited pop-up store event. The beautiful resort-like arrangement the brand tailored for this event attracted a large crowd, meeting the city’s overall urban renewal objectives.

Since Wukang Road, which was already a favorite photo-op destination for locals and tourists, is connected to four other roads (Xingguo, Huaihai Middle, Tianping, and Yuqing), the entire area has benefited from the success of Prada’s pop-up store.

This focus on urban renewal was welcomed after the devastating effects COVID-19 had on the mental well-being of locals. So, as China gets back on track, the government wants to create a sense of joy in every nook and corner of the country. With this vision in mind, it has built new infrastructures and industries for strong economic growth.

“This developmental program should be implemented, along with art and cultural initiatives,” said Ma Yansong, founder of MAD Architects. “After all, what matters most is the quality being offered at public places. And the core of any great city is measured by its thriving art scene.”

The Italian luxury fashion house Gucci also made headlines when it landed in Shanghai to celebrate its 100th-anniversary collection. To mark its centennial extravaganza, Gucci held a spectacular show titled “Gucci Garden Archetypes” at the Shanghai Exhibition Center. The show was attended by VIPs from around the country, giving them a unique chance to experience the brand’s history via its creative director Alessandro Michele, who put together 15 breathtaking campaigns within this exhibition.


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Even on Chengdu’s Jianshe Road, several famous buildings have recently been refurbished, ensuring that they will always get utilized. And in Beijing, even destinations known for their cultural aspects like the 798 Art District and the shopping street Dashilan are being reinvented.

China is poised to become a global superpower, but it isn’t necessarily following a Western blueprint. For example, the riverside belt of Xuhui district in Shanghai is currently a popular hub of cultural attractions, including the West Bund Artistic Center, the Long Museum, the Yuz Museum, Tank Shanghai, the West Bund Museum, and the West Bund Dome. But with scientific innovation remaining crucial in China, the area is now home to an unrivaled AI facility. With Xuhui surrounded by all sorts of modern conveniences today, it has become a perfect model for urban renewal across the country. Therefore, it is unsurprising that Xuhui has become another sought-after destination for indulging in luxury. The Hengfu neighborhood in Shanghai is another renewal project that’s well underway, now popularly known as the “Hengfu Lifestyle.”

Making the most of luxury brands

China knows that global luxury brands are beneficial to its image abroad. And in line with this vision, integrating these brands into the restoration of the country’s historical places and allowing them to make impactful differences in Chinese society will only strengthen its position. “The process of gentrification is new in China at the moment, and it has a long way to go,” said Zhang Yunting from independent design magazine Demo.

Meanwhile, Yansong believes that the focus of all urban renewal projects should be on making people feel rejuvenated once they look around. “If this criterion is genuinely applied, then everything will be pitch-perfect,” he added.



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