Need to Know
31 : 08 : 18

The convenience store gets a high-end revamp, Samsung Pay enters Africa and Beijing’s meditative shopping mall.

Hong Kong Tourism imagines the city as an eSports arena

EMF by Nikopicto and Grey Hong Kong for Hong Kong Tourism Board

Hong Kong – To celebrate the eSports and Music Festival, the city’s tourism board has released a video campaign that gamifies its streets.

The video transforms the city into a e-sports battlefield using computer renderings, combining its signature neon signs and skyscrapers with elements from real games. The campaign runs alongside Hong Kong’s dedicated eSports & Music Festival, and aims to introduce a new type of eSports tourist to the city.

‘eSports has become one of the most popular entertainment [forms] for the next generation. As a trendy city, Hong Kong has always introduced new forms of experiences to locals and travellers alike. That’s why this city is the perfect place for this sporting event,’ Tina Chao, general manager of marketing at Hong Kong Tourism Board says.

As the eSports Market booms, cities like Hong Kong can use their futuristic skylines to their advantage, as a means to promote tourism.

Little B brings premium design to the convenience store

Little B Concept Store, photography by Shen Zhonghai, Shanghai Little B Concept Store, photography by Shen Zhonghai, Shanghai
Little B Concept Store, photography by Shen Zhonghai, Shanghai Little B Concept Store, photography by Shen Zhonghai, Shanghai

Shanghai – The corner shop, opened by lifestyle brand Little Beast, offers light food and drink, personal care items and basic home accessories.

In a far cry from the typical convenience store, Little B employed interior designer Neri & Hu to introduce sci-fi-inspired design cues such as stainless steel, grey concrete and neon lights. Taking inspiration from the aesthetic of pop-up shops, which tend to experiment with more playful fittings due their ephemeral nature, Little B is applying the same spontaneity to a permanent space.

Rather than selling basic necessities, the products for sale have been sourced from high-end local and international brands, which, according to Little Beast, have been curated to suit the ‘culturally astute and increasingly discerning taste of Chinese consumers’.

Convenience stores are undergoing a modern makeover and moving away from unhealthy snacks in favour of premium produce. Little B is adding a new layer to Convenience Stores 2.0 through interior design, championing Inspiration Per Square Foot.

Samsung Pay arrives in Africa

South Africa – Mobile payment from the world’s largest smartphone producer has arrived on the continent.

Debuting in South Africa after three years of planning, Samsung has partnered with Asba and Standard Bank, two of the country’s biggest banks. To use the new feature, customers authenticate themselves in the app using a Pin number, fingerprint or iris scan. They can then make payments by tapping their phone at a point-of-sale terminal in a similar way to Apple Pay.

South Africa is a mobile-first country, making it an ideal testing ground for Samsung Pay’s penetration into Africa. According to Sung Yoon, president and CEO of Samsung Electronics Africa, the country has been quick to accept mobile payments: ‘people in South Africa understand the technology better today than users in the US did three years ago.’

Technology brands are finally recognising Africa as an underserved market with plenty of potential. In April, Google adapted its search app Google Go to work on 2G networks and use 40% less data, in order to better serve its customers in sub-Saharan Africa.

Samsung Pay, South Africa

Redesigning the monotonous shopping mall

Vanke Times Center, Beijing Vanke Times Center, Beijing
Vanke Times Center, Beijing Vanke Times Center, Beijing

Beijing – The redevelopment of the Vanke Times Center blends retail with workspaces, art and meditation.

Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects has revitalised a former shopping mall to become a creative urban hub for the Beijing’s media district. Now complete, the renovated centre includes retailers, offices, a multi-functional exhibition space, grand art installations and a bamboo meditation garden.

The new building will also let in more natural light, a concept that was traditionally shunned by indoor shopping malls. By also incorporating a roof garden and elements of nature, the Vanke Times Center will be a more meditative environment than typical shopping malls, which tend to lean towards clinical design.

Similarly blurring the lines between retail and culture, Hong Kong’s K11 Musea opened earlier. For more, read how the next generation of shopping malls must focus on social, community-driven activities as much as retail.

Stat: Female-owned businesses boom

Companies owned by minorities and women were first acknowledged by the US Census Bureau in 1972. Since then, the number of businesses owned by women has rocketed 3000%, according to American Express’ State of Women-Owned Businesses report.

The number has also increased 58% in the past 11 years, with four out of every 10 businesses in the US now owned by women. In addition, 47% of these female business-owners are women of colour.

With more and more women starting their own companies, it’s high time for brands to clue up the spending habits of women. For more, read our Women’s Wealth Market parts one and two.

Thought-starter: Why cosmetics should be non-binary

The co-founders of inclusive cosmetics brand Fluide, talk to foresight editor Daniela Walker about the importance of creating a makeup line that expresses all genders.

‘Fluide’s goal is to evolve the mainstream conception of ‘beauty’ while creating a space for people to express themselves authentically,’ explains co-founder Laura Kraber. ‘With neither of us coming from the beauty space, we were able to approach Fluide with an open mind, thus leaving ourselves open to create the beauty space we wanted to see, as opposed to being limited by what has been done before.’

Kraber continues: ‘When money and big business are involved, there is always a risk of tokenism; that said, it is gratifying to see that most mainstream, traditional beauty brands are rethinking their messaging and recognising that makeup today is about self-expression. From Maybelline to CoverGirl to Lancôme, taglines and messaging have changed dramatically in the last few years.’

The co-founders believe the next step for the beauty industry is to shift its inclusivity behind the camera and to ‘represent diversity, racial, gender and beyond, in its art directors, photographers, stylists, management – the people calling the shots, not just the models.’

Read the full Q&A here.

Lee O'Connor for Fluide, US
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