Broadway Malyan has appointed China regional director Sean Li to the board of directors of its primary holding company, as the global architectural heavyweight targets further growth in its fastest growing region.
Li is making the step up 12 years after helping to launch the UK-based architectural practice’s first studio in the country, with the Central St Martin’s graduate now heading up a team of 50 in Shanghai.
Ranked sixtieth in Building Design’s top 100 fee-earning architectural companies, Broadway Malyan has made the boardroom appointment as its China, APAC and Middle East turnover surged 24 percent last year, up £19.3 million ($25.3 million) for the year to April 2019.
Targetting Mainland Potential
“Sean was our first employee in China and he has been the main driver in helping us become a significant force in the country through his unique skill set and deep understanding of the Chinese business culture,” said group chairman Stuart Rough, adding that Li would help “lead the company into an exciting new era in China”.
The company has established its market presence in the country through retail-led mixed-use and education projects, working with blue-chip clients including Ikea, property giant CapitaLand and Hong Kong-listed developer Future Land.
The firm’s work for state-owned investment company CITIC on Hefei’s ID Mall won it a Gold Prize at the MIPIM Asia Award 2017 in the mixed-use category.
With a curved design intended to mimic nearby Lake Chao, the hybrid development comprises a 70,000 square metre (753,474 square foot) shopping mall on five levels, a 15,000 square metre supermarket and a 45,000 square metre grade A office tower.
Expanding into Shenzhen
Li attributed the firm’s success in mainland China to the way it embraces local values – as with the Hefei project – and business cultures, while adding that the “market potential in China is far from fulfilled”.
Despite a slip in turnover in some of Broadway Malyan’s Brexit-influenced regions, the company’s booming China business has provided it with the impetus to open a second mainland office in Shenzhen as it looks to expand its footprint in the country.
“Sean has been incredibly successful in securing new opportunities and developing these relationships to support the global business but his real passion remains the significant opportunity for Broadway Malyan in China,” Rough added.
In addition to mixed-use developments, the firm is also currently involved in more than a dozen education projects in China working with brands including Westminster School, Dulwich College, Kings College School, Reigate College, and Fettes College.