(Yicai Global) Nov. 25 -- The less-than-ideal opening of the Century Place Project has caused its existing merchants to incur losses. However, Shenzhen Hutchison Whampoa Real Estate Ltd., the project operator, nonetheless sued these vendors, demanding payment of overdue rent, so these tenants went to the headquarters of Li Ka-Shing's business empire -- Cheung Kong Centre -- to meet with senior management.
Some merchants told Yicai Global that the Century Place Project opened with less than 30 percent occupancy, and that some big brands have already left with various promises unfulfilled when these brands were solicited. "We lost so much because we trusted Li Ka-Shing's brand," the merchants lamented.
A source familiar with Shenzhen's commercial market told our reporter that Hutchison Whampoa holds a large proportion of shares in the Shenzhen Century Place project. However, Hutchison Whampoa does not intend to manage the shopping mall, and this produces an unclear positioning and plan, and chaotic branding and new brand recruitment.
Customers get the impression the shopping mall is low-end and any brands can locate here if they want, which drives down the mall's popularity. As of this reporting, Cheung Kong Property Holdings Ltd. had not answered our reporter's phone calls.