If the walls of Florentia Village Guangzhou Outlet Mall could talk, they might have lost their voice from welcoming waves of shoppers. In a show of strength for the luxury retail market in China, Hong Kong-headquartered private equity real estate firm Gaw Capital Partners acquired the outlet mall for an undisclosed amount in April, writes Christie Ou.

Located in the Guangzhou-Foshan metropolitan area, the retail haven is connected to Guangzhou city center and Foshan via Guangzhou South Railway Station, making it accessible to 21 million residents in the region. Opened in 2015, the mall is fully occupied with a total gross leasable area of 669,515 square feet. It has a tenancy mix of 182 international and local retail brands, including Prada, Brooks Brothers, Calvin Klein, Coach and Hugo Boss.

A pioneer of the country’s luxury outlet malls, Florentia Village has opened seven outlets in China since 2011. Their architecture incorporates features of the European Renaissance by combining plazas, galleries, fountains and monumental buildings to deliver an Italianate shopping environment for Chinese consumers.

Reflecting the evolution of the retail industry and customers’ needs, the brand offers exclusive entertainment experiences in its outlets to boost footfall. For example, each Village hosted its own live music performances, parades and magic shows during this year’s Labor Day holiday.

Gaw is understood to be both the buyer and the seller in the transaction. It bought the asset through its flagship fund Gateway Real Estate Fund VII from a group of investors including Silk Road Holdings, the developer and owner of the Florentia Village in China, in which Gaw is a shareholder.

This is not the first time Gaw has bought into the Florentia Village brand. Gaw purchased Florentia Village Jingjin near Tianjin and Florentia Village Shanghai in 2017 and 2018, respectively, both via Nuveen Real Estate’s ERES APAC II – China Outlet Mall fund.

Lure of luxury

China’s luxury goods market has continued to grow despite global economic challenges. “FVGZ will continue to benefit from the strong demand as consumers prefer to make physical trips to stores when making luxury purchases,” says Imelda Tham, managing director, investments at Gaw. “We believe luxury and outlet segments will continue to gain market share at the expense of general offline retail.”

China’s tier one cities were named by Asia-Pacific retailers as the top destination for cross-border expansion, according to CBRE’s 2023 Asia-Pacific Retail Flash Survey. Following the relaxation of anti-pandemic measures, CBRE expects demand for retail space to recover significantly from the second quarter of 2023, led by shopping centers and high-street shops in core business districts.


RDM Asia develops and opens Florentia Village Jingjin

Gaw Capital Partners forms joint venture with Silk Road Holdings
Silk Road Holdings secures outlet mall site in Guangzhou

Nuveen launches ERES APAC II – China Outlet Mall fund, seeded by Florentia Village Jingjin and Florentia Village Shanghai

Gaw Capital Partners acquires Florentia Village Guangzhou Outlet Mall from Silk Road Holdings and plans to expand it by around 183,000 square feet