Chinese Whispers: Wanda and Tencent Debuts the Future of Retail in Beijing, and More

In “Chinese Whispers,” we share the biggest news stories about the luxury industry in China that have yet to make it into the English language.

In this week’s edition, we discuss:

  • The first “smart retail” shopping mall, co-developed by Tencent and Wanda
  • Victoria’s Secret’s standalone e-commerce store on Alibaba Tmall
  • Secoo’s new partnership with fine dining chain Ce La Vi

1. Chinese corporate giants Wanda and Tencent co-launch a smart retail mall – 36Kr

It’s been the consensus among retail innovators around the world that the future of shopping malls rests on developers’ ability to use the latest digital technologies like artificial intelligence, big data analytics, and AR/VR to offer shoppers a new interactive experience. As leaders in their respective fields, Wanda and Tencent gave the world a sneak peek at the future malls this past week.

On May 8, the Chinese real estate developer and the country’s internet giant debuted the first “smart retail” shopping mall (still in its pilot phase) at Beijing’s Fengtai Science Park. According to Wanda Group, the new mall offers a “digitalized” experience to visitors by utilizing Tencent’s big data, digital devices, and intellectual properties. Some of the futuristic installations include a VR-powered gaming zone, holographic ads, and a facial recognition payment system. Wang Jianlin, Chairman of Wanda Group, and Pony Ma, Chairman and CEO of Tencent Holdings, paid a visit to the new mall together last week, which garnered much public interest.

Victoria's Secret is betting big on the beauty business to grow in the Chinese market. Photo: Shutterstock

Victoria’s Secret is betting big on the beauty business to grow in the Chinese market. Photo: Shutterstock

2. Lingerie brand Victoria’s Secret opens a dedicated flagship store on Alibaba to sell beauty – Winsang

The lingerie, womenswear, and beauty product company Victoria’s Secret has experienced a rocky start to its expansion into the Chinese market ever since 2017 when it hosted a large-scale fashion runway show in Shanghai that caused some political controversy. Since the growth of the brand’s lingerie business remains weak in China, it has started to bet big on its beauty products there.

On May 8, Victoria’s Secret opened a standalone e-commerce store on Alibaba’s B2C marketplace, Tmall, where their full-line of beauty products, which range from perfumes & fragrance to body lotions and cosmetics, can now be found.

Recommended ReadingChina’s Top 10 Luxury Lingerie BrandsBy Ruonan Zheng
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Chinese luxury e-commerce platform Secoo signed a strategic partnership with the fine dining company Ce La Vi. Photo: Secoo

Chinese luxury e-commerce platform Secoo signed a strategic partnership with the fine dining company Ce La Vi. Photo: Secoo

3. China’s luxury e-tailer Secoo forms a partnership with the fine dining company Ce La Vi Secoo

China’s largest luxury e-commerce platform, Secoo, signed a strategic partnership with Ce La Vi, a fine dining company in Asia. Ce La Vi, which has opened stores in Singapore, Hong Kong, Taipei, and other large markets in the region is planning to take its business to mainland China in 2019. With this Secoo partnership, the company will now be able to access the platform’s more than 270 million high-end Chinese customers.

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Headline From China, Retail