“The way they consume is different. They’re not owning things, they’re renting things.” Adrian Cheng’s description of today’s Millennial and Generation Z consumers is a now familiar one. And it’s this key market, which according to Bain & Co will account for 45 per cent of global luxury spending by 2025, that is the focus of the self-titled cultural entrepreneur’s new investment venture.
Having already secured stakes in London-based Dazed Media and Nowness, the former LVMH-owned global arts and culture video channel, Cheng has launched C Ventures, an “investment club” rather than traditional fund, which formalises his strategy. “What I’m building is a cultural ecosystem that connects coteries from fashion, media and creative platforms globally, and allowing them to collide, cross-pollinate and grow,” he said in a statement.
With his target market firmly in mind, the investments in Cheng’s launch portfolio include rent the runway platform Armarium, and Flont, which offers luxury jewelry on loan, both of which are also supported by Carmen who shares Cheng’s view that the rental model is ripe for future growth. And his consumer-focused strategy has also seen him tapping into technology-based brands such as Not Just A Label, a platform for showcasing emerging fashion talent, and online auction house Paddle8, as well as experience driven sites such as Beautycon.
Scion of one of Hong Kong’s most prominent families, Adrian Cheng currently serves as executive vice chairman and general manager of New World Development Co, which counts Rosewood Hotel & Resorts and US-based jewellery brand Hearts on Fire among its portfolio. The family also has a minority stake in Roberto Cavalli, and its Luxba Group manages Chinese operations for brands including Moschino and Red Valentino.
Although to date, C Ventures’ focus has been firmly on western brands, Cheng is committed to extending the company’s reach globally. “The US has more of these new ideas and pioneering companies, but we’re investing in Asia as well,” he said, with more high-profile investments set to be announced in the coming months.