Adrian Cheng, who is one of the world’s youngest billionaires, has only been collecting art for seven years. That hasn’t stopped him from placing art at the very center of the business he inherited from his family. Cheng believes firmly in two things: first, that art is for the masses, and, second, that the masses are likely, at one time or another, to go to the mall. In his K11 Art Malls, which he calls a “new museum model,” retail shopping on the main floors provides both the financial support and the audience for the art displayed in the basement. In 2015, he announced that he would build 17 malls with art exhibition spaces. His aim is not only to educate the public about art in general, but also, specifically, to raise the visibility of Chinese contemporary art. “I think the new contemporary Chinese art is reinventing Chinese cultural identity and building up a new Chinese culture,” Cheng told ARTnews. Cheng has recently started to branch out beyond his malls; in spring 2016, he joined the board of the New York–based Public Art Fund.

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Adrian Cheng

Hong Kong

Source of wealth:
Retail; Real estate (K11 , New World Development)

Collecting area:
Contemporary Chinese and global art

Top 200 appearance:
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Fun fact:

The David Hockney painting that Cheng has hung in his office is one of the few works by established artists that he owns. The rest of his collection, as reported by a 2015 article in the South China Morning Post, is dominated by works by emerging Chinese artists.