Wuhan’s K11 Mall Confirms the City’s Untapped Luxury Potential

What Happened: Wuhan’s second K11 Art Mall has opened in the Qiaokou District. The first one, called K11 Select, opened in Optics Valley in 2017. But the newer Wuhan K11 will be positioned as a high-end luxury shopping complex, carrying more than 30 international and local brands, including the Armani Boutique, Atelier Cologne, and Nars (all opening their first stores in Wuhan or Central China). K11’s senior vice president, Meiling Chu, told Jiemian News that distinctive personalization is the key to his shopping mall operation. “We wish to help consumers create a new scene in our space at every given time,” he said.

Jing Take: COVID-19 has forever made Wuhan a household name. However, despite the negative connotations, the city is bouncing back. Ever since Louis Vuitton’s recent traveling exhibition, See LV, launched in Wuhan, global luxury brands have begun to recognize the potential in China’s other first-tier cities. And it’s only the second location, after Hong Kong, that can lay claim to two different K11 Art Malls.

Labels opening shops in Wuhan’s new K11 is an example of China’s “first store economy” — a term for when global brands find growth by opening their first flagship store in a new region. In many lesser-known, first-tier cities like Chengdu, this concept has already achieved remarkable results.

After hosting the most tourists during China’s national holiday in early October, Wuhan has managed to shake off its associations with the virus — at least, among China’s citizens. The WHO will carry out a report to determine the origins of the virus outbreak, which according to Reuters, has the full support of Wuhan’s residents. But what of its international appeal? Where locals go, global travelers are likely to follow. And Wuhan will offer its untapped potential to businesses across the world that are willing to take a chance.

The Jing Take reports on a piece of the leading news and presents our editorial team’s analysis of the key implications for the luxury industry. In the recurring column, we analyze everything from product drops and mergers to heated debate sprouting on Chinese social media.