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Life & Style

Catering to the ultra-rich: Harrods to launch private members’ club in Shanghai

  • Only 250 members will be able to join with additional members subject to consideration following peer nominations
  • Annual fees to start from £16,000
Published July 18, 2023

Harrods is all set to open its very first private members’ club in Shanghai later this year, targeting ultra-high net worth individuals, reported Bloomberg on Tuesday.

The luxury department store is counting on big spending despite the uncertainty about the Chinese economy.

The new facility – a first of it’s kind outside the UK – will be called ‘The Residence’. It will take up an entire floor at the Cha House, a central Shanghai heritage building built in 1920, and house a restaurant helmed by celebrity chef, Gordon Ramsay, a bar and lounge, private dining rooms and terraces for members.

China’s mega-rich move their wealth, and partying, to Singapore

Annual fees will start from £16,000.

Harrods, which is ultimately owned by Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund, already has a tea room in Cha House and a bar, both open to the public.

 Cha House in Shanghai. Photo: Harrods
Cha House in Shanghai. Photo: Harrods

Only 250 members will be able to join the members’ club with additional members subject to consideration following peer nominations.

They will have access to other services that Harrods already offers such as premium travel options and property services.

“People don’t like to display wealth as much as they used to do and having that ability to be with like-minded people is hugely important,” Michael Ward, managing director of Harrods, was quoted as saying by Bloomberg.

Chinese customers contributed 16 per cent of Harrods’ sales last year, added Bloomberg.

Chinese luxury shoppers, who mostly spent overseas before Covid-19, have begun turning inwards in the pandemic’s wake, as the range of domestic offerings grows and prices rise around the world.

China’s luxury shoppers free to travel, but many buy locally

Meanwhile, Ward said Harrods’ owners were supportive of the expansion in China as they “recognise that there is this switch to the east” in terms of luxury growth, added a report by Financial Times.

“China is going to be the biggest market in the world. It will serve itself largely, but for the special, exclusive pieces they will still look somewhere to the west. For the ultra-high net worth, we’ll be there, we’ll be their port of call, that’s the objective,” he was quoted as saying by FT.

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When asked about growing tensions between the US and China and its potential impact on luxury spending, Ward said: “[The ultra-high net worth are] so insulated, it doesn’t impact it at all. We saw that through the financial crisis, we saw that through the recovery from Covid, when customers came back with a vengeance, and so we don’t have any problems about that. We’ve always sought to develop really strong relationships in China,” he was further quoted as saying by FT

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