K11 taps into e-sports to change retail ecosystem

Shopping mall K11 has signed a 10-year deal with video gaming brand Hero Entertainment (英雄互娛) to build VR experience spaces and e-sports themed food, beverage and entertainment zones in nine China cities - Hong Kong, Beijing, Shenzhen, Shenyang, Wuhan, Ningbo, Tianjin, Shanghai and Guangzhou.

The partnership sees K11 becoming the exclusive industry partner of Hero Entertainment, and bringing its Hero Pro League (HPL), one of Asia’s largest mobile e-sports leagues, and other animation, comic, game and novel (ACGN) franchises, to K11 projects in at least nine cities in China.

Some e-sports stadiums will be built as part of K11 projects in at least seven cities across China to promote cultural e-sports events on the international stage and to create a unique and innovative business ecosystem.

With the announcement, K11 said it embarks on a new era of experiential retailing fit for millennials and Gen Z, in which commerce and the latest technological trends are combined.

K11 founder Adrian Cheng said the e-sports sector is fast becoming the next big growth market, and is a cultural event popular among the new generation.

"Moving forward, K11 will create a unique ecosystem that combines art, technology and commerce, while continuing its effort in innovating and promoting cross-cultural exchanges in its physical and online spaces."

K11 Hong Kong will offer pop-up VR experience spaces and e-sports zones for the live broadcast of competitions. It will also host large-scale, international e-sports competitions in the future, while it doubles as a cross-cultural platform for e-sports athletes and coaches, and to support the growth of e-sports in Hong Kong.

Hero Entertainment is the second largest mobile e-sports operator in China with over 400 million registered users.