Archives for category: China

The company, which is a subsidiary of real estate giant CapitaLand, recently secured contracts to manage five more properties comprising 1,000 apartment units in the cities of Yinchuan, Changsha, Shenyang and Xi’an. These take the company’s Chinese inventory to more than 12,000 serviced apartments, representing almost a third of its Asia Pacific total of 37,000 units.

Ascott serviced apartment in China

Citadines Xingqing Yinchuan and Somerset Xingqing Yinchuan will mark Ascott’s entry into the capital of northern China’s Ningxia region
Citadines Xingqing Yinchuan and Somerset Xingqing Yinchuan will mark Ascott’s entry into the capital of northern China’s Ningxia region
“China is Ascott’s fastest growing market. As the world’s second largest economy, it continues to present tremendous opportunities. Urbanisation, increasing business activities and rising domestic affluence in key Chinese cities fuel strong demand for our serviced residences,” explained Ascott’s CEO, Lee Chee Koon.

“Since bringing Ascott from our home base in Singapore to China in 1998, we have grown to become China’s largest international serviced residence owner-operator, with 69 properties across 23 cities. This year alone, we have added some 2,600 apartment units in China. Having crossed our target of 12,000 apartment units ahead of 2015, we are now aiming at 20,000 units in China by 2020,” he added.

By this time, Ascott’s Chinese collection is expected to account for a quarter of its targeted global inventory of 80,000 units.

The latest five additions of Ascott’s portfolio demonstrate the company’s increasing focus on emerging second tier Chinese cities. The 200-unit Citadines Xingqing Yinchuan, 150-unit Somerset Xingqing Yinchuan and 164-unit Somerset Riverside Changsha will mark Ascott’s entry into two new markets, Yinchuan and Changsha – the respective capitals of the Ningxia region and Hunan province.

All three properties are due to open in 2018, and the Yinchuan properties mark the first time Citadines- and Somerset-branded serviced residences have been co-located in the same development.

Ascott has also signed its second property in Shenyang, the 330-unit Somerset Olympic Centre Shenyang, and its fifth property in Xi’an, the 156-unit Somerset Xindicheng Xi’an. These serviced residences will open in 2015 and 2016 respectively.

Celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2014, Ascott now operates 24,000 serviced apartment units in Asia Pacific, with a further 12,000 in the pipeline.


Butterfly Hotel and Serviced Apartment Group is honored to announce that Butterfly on Hollywood is a recipient of The 14th Golden Horse Award of China Hotel for the ‘The Best Designed Boutique Hotel of China’. The award is jointly hosted by the Asia Pacific Hotel Association, the Tourism Research Center of CASS and the China Hotel Industry Celebrity Club.Butterfly hotel and serviced apartment

The Golden Horse Award of China Hotel is one of the highest honors in China’s hospitality industry and is regarded as the industry standard for hospitality excellence. A jury, consisting of professionals and consultants of the Asia Pacific Hotel Association, has selected the hotels according to special criteria and handing out the luxurious golden horse statue to the award winning hotels.

“We are truly honored to receive this prestigious award from Golden Horse Award of China Hotel.” Said Mr. Bill Chan, Executive Director and Group General Manager of Butterfly Hotel and Serviced Apartment Group. “It is the first major award received by Butterfly on Hollywood, and is an enormous recognition for the quality of its unique hotel design. It has been a great success for us that the hotel’s ‘Hollywood Movies’ design theme is broadly welcomed by our valuable guests and industry professionals. We will definitely strive for more excellent achievement by continuing to deliver our guests consistently high quality services and accommodation.”

Butterfly on Hollywood is conveniently situated near the Soho area in Central. It was designed under the unique theme of Hollywood movies which resonates with the renowned Hollywood Road. The hotel offers an irreplaceable experience to the guest – upon entering the lobby, guests are welcomed by a classy red carpet along with a back-lit mirror wall that glitters with flash light effect. While the enchanting guest room designs are highlighted with a smart director’s chair, lighting with film roll-alike border, shimmering stage curtains, and a whimsical wall art that recalls classic Hollywood moments.

About Butterfly Hotel and Serviced Apartment Group
The award-winning Butterfly Hotel and Serviced Apartment Group is the fastest growing boutique hotel chain in Hong Kong. With the motto “Stay Central. Live Metro.”, all five Butterfly hotels are strategically located in prime city areas providing distinctive design décor with an atmosphere of unparalleled relaxation and up-to-date technology for guests’ enjoyment. Butterfly hotels include Butterfly on Hollywood (Central), Butterfly on Morrison (Causeway Bay), Butterfly on Prat (Tsim Sha Tsui), Butterfly on Victoria (Causeway Bay) and Butterfly on Wellington (Central).

Butterfly Hotel and Serviced Apartment Group has been in business for just five years, yet it has been consistently recognized for the excellence in hospitality and has been honored with numerous awards.

“This brings Ascott closer to its target of achieving 12,000 apartment units in China by 2015,” said Ascott in a release, adding that this has cemented the company’s leadership position as the largest international serviced residence owner-operator in the country with 56 properties across 20 cities.


The milestone comes on the back of Ascott securing contracts to manage four more properties with a total of 797 apartment units in Hangzhou, Chongqing and Shenzhen. The 230-unit Somerset IOC Hangzhou, 185-unit Somerset Changbin Chongqing, 182-unit Ascott Raffles City Shenzhen and 200-unit Yantian Coast Serviced Residence Shenzhen are slated to open in 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 respectively.

In addition, Ascott has opened the 298-unit Ascott Raffles City Chengdu and 257-unit Somerset Wusheng Wuhan this year.

Mr Kevin Goh, Ascott’s Managing Director for North Asia, said: “We are pleased that Ascott has crossed a milestone of having 10,000 apartment units in China and is on track to achieve 12,000 units by 2015. Besides the first tier cities, we are expanding in high growth cities like Hangzhou and Chongqing. These cities have strong potential for economic growth and foreign investments which will generate a large demand for serviced residences. In China this year, we have so far clinched 13 management contracts and acquired a prime property in Hong Kong. Our China portfolio increased by more than 2,100 apartment units compared to 2012.”

Mr Goh added: “Since we brought Ascott from our home base in Singapore to China in 1998, more real estate owners have been seeking partnerships with us due to our exceptional track record in constantly adding value to both the properties and our customers. More expatriates and travellers are also choosing to stay at our serviced residences. Besides spacious apartments with separate living and dining areas and a fully-equipped kitchen, residents will enjoy privacy, the comfort of a home and top quality services. In the next five years, Ascott will be opening 27 more properties with over 4,300 units in China.”

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Vacation exchange company RCI, part of the Wyndham Worldwide family of brands, has announced the signing of two memorandums of understanding (MOU) that demonstrate its efforts to promote tourism in China, particularly in the Hainan and Yangshuo regions.RCI

First, RCI signed a tripartite MOU with the Hainan Tourism Development Commission and HNA Hotel Group that formalizes their mutual collaboration to introduce vacation ownership to Hainan’s tourism industry and promote Hainan as a top tourist destination through the establishment of Hainan International Tourism Island.

The agreement builds on the existing relationship RCI has with the Hainan Tourism Development Commission and HNA Hotel Group in its continuous effort to promote the benefits of vacation ownership in Hainan.
Each MOU signatory will endeavor to work together to achieve the following six objectives:

1. Establish Hainan as an international vacation ownership destination based on vacation ownership models that have been successfully implemented in the global market.

2. Promote Hainan as a tourist destination through RCI’s global network to attract more international and domestic tourists.

3. Introduce vacation ownership practices to the local tourism industry to enrich the diversity of vacation ownership products and increase the average length of stay.

4. Ensure the good reputation and healthy development of the vacation ownership industry in Hainan.

5. Create a supportive and favorable regulatory environment for vacation ownership practice, making it attractive for potential domestic and international investors.

6. Establish an industry self-regulatory mechanism that complements the existing government supervision to promote ethical and professional business operations in Hainan’s vacation ownership industry.

Next, RCI signed an MOU with the Yangshuo County Government, formalizing their mutual collaboration to introduce vacation ownership to Yangshuo’s tourism industry and promote Yangshuo as an international tourism destinations.

The agreement builds on the existing relationship RCI has with the Yangshuo County Government in its continuous effort to promote the benefits of vacation ownership in Yangshuo’s tourism market.

Each MOU signatory will endeavor to promote Yangshuo as a tourist destination through RCI’s global network and both parties will also help introduce vacation ownership practices to the local tourism industry to enrich the diversity of vacation products.

Yangshuo County Government will also create a favorable regulatory environment for vacation ownership practice, making it attractive for potential domestic and international investors.

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Tnooz published an interesting article concerning the last study of Phocuswright : China Online Travel Overview Sixth Edition

I would like to keep the main point of this article :

“In 2012, China surpassed Japan to become the largest market in Asia with $96.2 billion in travel bookings. The controlled strengthening of the Chinese Yuan against the US dollar makes growth appear slightly faster when measured on a dollar basis.

By 2015, when 24% of China’s travel bookings will be transacted online, penetration will still be trailing compared to India, Japan, and Australia/New Zealand.

Chinese travel companies remain highly focused on the domestic market. Because, the opportunity for growth at home remains very attractive.

China travel


Suppliers are doing a better job than ever of selling directly to consumers, but intermediaries still account for the majority of China’s travel bookings.

Not all is rosy in the intermediary world, middlemen are losing their share to suppliers, but still posting big increases in bookings.

Online travel agents

In 2012, OTAs’ gross bookings, including those fulfilled through call centers, represented 11% of the overall market, slightly more than their share in 2011. But, OTA growth decelerated from 49% in 2011 to 39% in 2012.

Ctrip leads the OTA market in China by a huge margin, followed by eLong. Ctrip is the also third largest OTA in APAC.Ctrip

In the recently held quarterly earnings call, eLong’s CEO announced that the company’s focus will continue to be on hotel bookings. eLong does not offer packages and follows an online-first strategy, processing only about one fourth of bookings offline.

Vacation package purchase incidence is high among Chinese travellers – about one in three booked a vacation package in 2012, nearly twice as many as in the U.S.

The new intermediaries

Qunar leads the metasearch market in China. The website also has the ability to fulfil a booking there by posing a threat to OTAs in the market.Qunar

Metasearch grew faster than any other online travel category from Q2 2011 to Q2 2012, jumping from 28% to 38% of online travel traffic. Metasearch is also the biggest source of leads for Chinese OTAs and suppliers.

Online shopping mall sites like Taobao, 360buy, and allow travel providers and other retailers to accept bookings and transactions. These new intermediary sites are important to OTAs – shopping malls represent more than a quarter of Ctrip’s source traffic.

Taobao and 360buy now host providers of air, hotel, train tickets, car rental, packages and theme park tickets.

Consumers are becoming more comfortable to buy travel through these sites; travel transactions booked through Taobao doubled in 2012.


The lodging segment now accounts for 29% of the overall travel market. Vacation rentals sites like Tujia have entered the scene, and a handful of Airbnb – HomeAway – Roomorama-like peer-to-peer lodging sites have also cropped up.Tujia - hi-res logo

Call center and walk-up bookings remain the most popular channel for lodging sales, especially for the many small and independent properties that lack a web presence.

(Tujia secured its Series B funding from GGV Capital, Lightspeed Venture Partners, CDH Ventures, Qiming Venture Partners, Ctrip and HomeAway.)


Mobile penetration among travellers has reached 98%, and the number of people accessing the internet via mobile surpassed desktop in 2012. By 2015, more than one fifth of online travel bookings will be mobile transactions.

OTAs and metasearch sites have created apps that offer more choice and better functionality than supplier apps do. The platforms of choice thus far are iOS and Android – Windows phones are supported by very few travel providers.

While the mobile channel is on fire and last-minute bookings are common in China, suppliers are cautious about offering last-minute mobile deals.

Social media and online reviews

Traveler reviews are a crucial element of the online research process in China.

Traffic to review sites is growing rapidly – In Q2 2012, Ctrip-owned review site Lvping’s traffic increased 41% YOY, attracting an average of 2.6 million monthly visitors and surpassing Daodao to become the country’s leading review site.”


The serviced residence will further reinforce Ascott’s leadership position as the largest international serviced residence owner-operator in China with about 9,300 apartment units in 52 properties across 20 cities.

Mr Kevin Goh, Ascott’s Managing Director for North Asia, said: “Citadines Apart’hotel, which provides independent travellers with flexible services to suit their lifestyle needs, has been enjoying very healthy occupancy since we
launched it in China in 2006.Ascott in China

We see great potential in expanding our Citadines brand in China and have so far added three more Citadines Apart’hotels in Guangzhou, Nanjing and Hangzhou in 2013.”

He added: “With a fast growing demand for serviced residences in Hangzhou, we are confident that Citadines Intime City Hangzhou will perform well.

As the capital city of Zhejiang Province, Hangzhou’s economy and foreign direct investment grew respectively by an average of more than 10% and 12% annually in the last five years. Hangzhou also attracted more than 80 million business and leisure travellers in 2012.

Besides Citadines Intime City Hangzhou, our premier Ascott Raffles City Hangzhou will offer top business executives exclusive living and discreet services when it opens in 2015.”

Marriott International has introduced its serviced apartment brand to southern China, with the launch of the OCT Harbour, Shenzhen Marriott Executive Apartments.

Marriott Shenzhen apartments

Located in the centre of the Pearl River Delta city, the 155-unit property covers more than 27,000m² and features a range of studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom suites, each featuring a kitchen and other long-stay amenities. Guest services include a concierge desk, foreign exchange, limousine service and a grocery shopping service, while property facilities include a lounge, 24-hour gym, outdoor pool, kids’ pool, children’s playroom and dry cleaning.

“We are delighted to be opening South China’s very first Marriott Executive Apartments and pleased that the popularity of the Marriott Executive Apartments brand in China continues to grow,” said Simon Cooper, Marriott’s president & managing director for Asia Pacific.

“Designed with extended stay travellers in mind, the apartments are located in an iconic location with the convenience of a five-star, full-service hotel. Offering space, ambience and privacy of residential living the Marriott Executive Apartments enables a comfortable stay while living away from home,” he added.

OCT Harbour is a new entertainment district in central Shenzhen, featuring a waterfront shopping complex, theatre, exhibition centre, aquarium and cinema. It also includes an urban nature reserve, connecting the OCT Wetland Park and Coco Beach with the Binhai Seaside Promenade and Hongshulin Mangrove Forest.

The new Shenzhen property becomes the sixth Marriott Executive Apartments in China, following existing properties in Beijing, Shanghai and Tianjin.

Modena - Frasers Group

China will continue to be a key growth area for Frasers Hospitality Pte Ltd (Frasers), which is on target to double its presence in China to 23 properties including those in the pipeline within the next two years, strengthening its presence in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen as well as key second and third tier cities.

This was announced at the Grand Opening of the Gold Standard Fraser Suites Guangzhou, the city’s largest serviced residence. Primely located in the heart of the modern business district of Tianhe, Fraser Suites Guangzhou, which has been well received since it soft opened in February this year, comes hot on the heels of the refurbishment of Fraser Residence Shanghai.

Committed to meeting the evolving needs of international travellers to China, Frasers’ current China portfolio, which includes a strong presence in the key cities of Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou and Shenzhen, will further increase by the end of 2013 with the addition of Fraser Place Tianjin, Modena Wuhan, and Modena Wuxi.

These developments are in line with the Group’s strategy to meet the growing demand for premier residences in China’s world class first tier cities, as well as the secondary high growth cities where foreign direct investment and tourism are expected to increase exponentially in the next few years.

“China’s impressive growth is reflected in our own expansion to meet the fast growing demand for our Gold Standard serviced residences here. This is not only in the premier cities where we already have a robust presence, but also in the second and third tier cities, which are witnessing rapid infrastructure development to cater to the demand from the number of industries entering these markets1,” said Mr Choe Peng Sum, Chief Executive Officer of Frasers Hospitality Pte Ltd.

“Our commitment to deepening our presence in China is reflective not only in every new opening, such as Fraser Suites Guangzhou which establishes our foothold in such an important region, but also in ensuring that our properties are always at the forefront of meeting the needs of international travellers. This is seen in the extensive refurbishment of Fraser Residence Shanghai and also in our diversified portfolio of brand offerings that include the Fraser-branded serviced residences as well as Modena which we launched here in China to meet the extended stay needs of the growing number of road-warriors,” he said.

Also in the pipeline for the Frasers will be the launch of its fourth Modena property, Modena Wuhan in August this year, which will be strategically located in city centre of the industrial, financial, commercial and educational hub of central China.

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frasersGlobal serviced apartment operator Frasers Hospitality is bent on fast expansion on the mainland after it reaped benefits from Beijing’s calls to curb extravagance in meals and business tours.

Chief executive Choe Peng Sum said the cost-saving plans by state-owned enterprises had brought a windfall for serviced apartment operators although the country’s intensified efforts to avoid wasting public money had a negative impact on the overall hospitality sector.

“We saw the support to our businesses from the SOE corporate clients,” Choe said. “And the businesses are coming up very strong.”

The new leaders in Beijing required government units and SOEs not to spend lavishly on dinners and business travel as part of efforts to weed out corruption. The campaign created demand for two or three-bedroom apartments as SOE employees share one suite during their business trips.

“We are capturing customers with different needs,” Choe said. “The business from SOEs is growing very quickly.”

Frasers Hospitality, a wholly owned subsidiary of Singapore-listed food, beverage and property group Fraser and Neave, now manages 13 properties across China with 3,300 rooms.

Choe said the firm would nearly double its presence on the mainland over the next 24 months by adding 10 more properties to its portfolio, stressing the mainland would be the major source of growth.

The serviced apartment operator expands through acquisitions, co-investments and management agreements.

Choe said the business from leisure travel now accounted for as much as 20 per cent of the company’s total.

Frasers Hospitality is aggressively moving to second-tier cities such as Dalian, Chongqing and Chengdu to further consolidate its foothold in the world’s second-largest economy. One-third of the properties managed by the company are in the country.

Admitting that competition in the mainland’s first-tier cities had become fiercer, Choe said the second-tier cities remained attractive since foreign and domestic firms increased their production on the mainland. “Foreigners are there to do businesses in China,” he said. “The results will be encouraging.”

CapitaLand’s wholly-owned serviced residence business unit, The Ascott Limited (Ascott), has entered Wuxi in China by securing contracts to manage two serviced residences in the city. The 134- unit Ascott Central Wuxi and 169-unit Somerset Wuxi are slated to open in the second half of 2015.Ascott-Central-Wuxi

The new properties in Wuxi will further strengthen Ascott’s leadership position as the largest international serviced residence owner-operator in China with more than 8,600 apartment units in 48 properties across 19 cities.

Mr Lee Chee Koon, Ascott’s Deputy Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director for North Asia, said: “As China continues to attract strong foreign direct investment, it is expected to enjoy healthy demand for quality accommodation. Revenue per available unit for our serviced residences in China increased by 4% in 1Q 2013 compared to the same period last year. Besides Ascott Central Wuxi and Somerset Wuxi, we will open 19 more serviced residences in China by 2017. By strengthening our network in China, we can achieve greater economies of scale and reinforce Ascott’s leadership position.”

He added: “Strategically located in the Yangtze River Delta region, Wuxi’s economy grew by an average of more than 17% annually in the last 10 years. It has also attracted foreign direct investment of more than RMB 20 billion each year from 2008 to 2012. As Wuxi continues to transform itself into a thriving regional hub with a growing number of multinational corporations, large local enterprises and trade exhibitions, we expect strong demand for our international-class serviced residences by expatriates and local business travellers.”