Meet Asia’s most influential retail leader, K11 founder, Adrian Cheng

combined the worlds of art, real estate, retail, technology, startups, and philanthropy into an incredibly successful conglomerate.

The high-profile grandson of Hong Kong business legend Cheng Yu-tung – the billionaire founder of New World Development (NWD) property group and jeweller Chow Tai Fook – Cheng has worked hard to carve out his own reputation for business savvy, innovation, and embracing technology. 

Redefining the modern-day mall experience, Cheng founded K11 in 2008, a concept focused on ‘museum retail’. His first K11 mall opened in Hong Kong in 2009 and others have followed in Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenyang, and Wuhan. He plans 40 such properties in 10 Chinese cities by 2026.

HIs flagship is the giant K11 Musea overlooking Hong Kong Harbour, dubbed the city’s ‘Silicon Valley of Culture’, packed with international flagship stores, art galleries, and public spaces. 

Beyond K11, Cheng is co-founder of venture capital company C Ventures. One of the investor’s projects is a partnership with Chow Tai Fook and New York startup Flont to launch a high-end jewellery rental service in Asia, enabling consumers to discover and wear pieces they can’t afford to buy.

Cheng’s passion for art and philanthropy have drawn widespread respect in Greater China. During the early stages of the pandemic, Cheng established a US$1.3 million initiative through NWD’s charity foundation, which helped distribute about 2 million face masks and 10,000 preventive kits to low-income families in Hong Kong. Last year, he established a new non-profit organisation, New World Build for Good, which aims to alleviate Hong Kong’s housing shortage. 

In 2010, he launched the K11 Art Foundation, aiming to inspire and foster aspiring artists and promote public art education. 

Cheng is also a member of the visiting committee of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the International Circle of Centre Pompidou, and the Tate Museum’s Asia Pacific acquisitions committee. He is also a trustee of the UK’s Royal Academy of Arts and on the board of directors for MoMa PS1.

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