Cherry Blossom on the high street
Yes, I am on the 'high street' at MixC World in Shenzhen, China, not any city in the UK.
People in the UK are used to talking about shopping on the high street! The term 'High Street' is quite often a real location but it is also the generic name for the primary business street at the centre of towns or cities in the United Kingdom. Now, I am browsing shops on the 'high street' of a newly opened mall in China's which has brands along both sides of modern buildings alongside some artificial cherry trees. Place-making an outdoor streetscape is the Chinese mall's masterplan newest strategy.
My impression of high street in the UK
While 'high street' is literally translated as 高 (high) 街 (street) in China, I can't help thinking back to the high street in Reading where I studied, and in Wallingford where I lived more recently. Walking between charming low rise buildings, with some brands in the city or some independent shops in town, people spend a pleasant time shopping or having a coffee on a relaxing day.
Streetscape + Mall
Having read some news reports about MixC World I wandered around the newly created streetscaped mall development. Very nice. Its a new trend in China but reminded me of Liverpool ONE, in the UK, which was developed in 2008 and has been successful for 9 years.
Taking the Liverpool One book from my bookshelf I snapped a picture (below), Liverpool ONE has created its new streets, using 26 architectural practices, to integrate with the existing streets for remaking Liverpool city centre. MixC World in Shenzhen, is building 12 standalone boutique/flagship shops which make 2 streets and 3 plazas in terms of the streetscape development.
Both still keep overall mall concept to present hundreds of brand shops for visitors and optimize the pedestrian flow.
MixC World's high street
Brands in MixC are initial, charles & keith, Shark, Westwood, Fire&Smoke, FRED PERRY, EVISU, Laurèl, NIKE KICKS LOUNGE, adidas as well as Mi and COS on high street. People in the UK may have never thought about seeing these brands on the 'high street' but China's place-making developer is bringing them in for Chinese customers.
Interestingly China's mall developer had deployed the name of 'high street' into Chinese retailing outdoor streetscape, but in a very modern way.
MixC World's mall
People have learned from the West quickly, not only from the UK, but also from US. Can you see Trump shown on the image below? And below Trump's image, can you see a new store of KFC where has self-service kiosks and customers are able to use face recognization to process their payment from Alipay. China's retailing itself also develops rapidly, much quicker than in the UK.
Cozy and creative common area
It is amazing and amusing to see how MixC World's common areas are decorated. I and my local pals had a meeting with MixC's other mall four years ago. I suggested they should have some common area for customer to rest in terms of increasing dwelling hours but their operating staff stated their worry that people would take a nap and do nothing in a mall.
After years, they create very cozy and charming common area, people come to take a nap and do nothing there!
Like a high street in a city or town in the UK you can walk into any shop and perhaps a mall. The high street at MixC World is connected to the 1st floor of mall and accesses the main road.
Standing the starting point of high street, looking up at big red signage wrapping the outside of the building we see very cheerful new year wishes and a very bright future.