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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.


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.”

The Ascott Limited, has acquired a serviced residence in Hong Kong for HK$462.3 million (S$75.5 million).

The property will be leased back to the seller or its nominated entity for two years.

At the end of the lease in 2015, the property will be reconfigured and rebranded by Ascott.

The serviced residence has a prime location at No.138 Connaught Road West in Hong Kong Island which overlooks the Victoria Harbour.

Hong Kong

The Ascott Limited (Ascott), has been conferred the coveted Business Superbrands status in Singapore. Business Superbrands is an internationally recognised accolade which pays tribute to the best and most valued business-to-business brands around the world. Ascott is the first serviced residence company to receive this recognition.

superbrands singapore

The accolade is presented to brands that have met the stringent standards set by the Superbrands organisation in the areas of achievement, innovation, market share, reputation and corporate social responsibility. Brands were evaluated by Superbrands’ independent panel of marketing and branding experts as well as senior business leaders. Some of the notable brands that were accorded Business Superbrands status last year were SAP, IBM, Microsoft, Canon, SingTel and Singapore Airlines.

Mr Lee Chee Koon, Ascott’s Chief Executive Officer, said: “Being the first serviced residence company to be recognised as a Business Superbrand has further cemented Ascott’s position as the industry leader. Ascott pioneered Asia Pacific’s first international-class serviced residence with the opening of The Ascott Singapore along Scotts Road in 1984. We have since grown to be the world’s largest international serviced residence owner-operator. Our target is to increase our brand footprint to 40,000 apartment units globally by 2015.”

Mr Lee added: “As we expand, we ensure that we give back to the local communities in markets where we operate and we also launch various innovative initiatives to enhance the Ascott experience for our customers. This Business Superbrands accolade goes to our staff for their dedication and hard work, and we will continue to strive to do better.”

Mr Mark Pointer, Chief Executive Officer of Superbrands Singapore, said: “To achieve Business Superbrands status, companies must have established the finest reputation in their fields, gain significant market share and attain a high level of brand recognition to be able to qualify. Achieving Business Superbrands status means that Ascott is seen as more trustworthy, of higher quality and has a better reputation.”

“Ascott is a renowned global serviced residence provider that offers high quality serviced residences across many of the world’s most vibrant cities. We are delighted to recognise Ascott as one of Singapore’s leading business brands and we pay tribute to the management and all of the people who work behind the scenes to build the business and the brand,” added Mr Pointer.

In Singapore, Ascott currently operates more than 700 apartment units in seven properties. Ascott opened Ascott Raffles Place, its premier serviced residence in Singapore, in 2008 after a S$60 million restoration effort.

Ascott had carefully preserved unique features of the former Asia Insurance Building which was Southeast Asia’s tallest building in the 1950s while transforming it into Ascott Raffles Place. In 2009, Ascott brought its Citadines brand to Singapore with the opening of Citadines Mount Sophia. Citadines is an established chain of apart’hotels in Europe which Ascott acquired in 2002. Besides Ascott Raffles Place and Citadines Mount Sophia, Ascott also operates Somerset Bencoolen, Somerset Liang Court, Somerset Orchard, The Heritage and Riverdale Residence in Singapore. The company will be opening another prime serviced residence in the premier shopping and lifestyle district of Orchard Road in 2017.

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CapitaLand’s wholly-owned serviced residence business unit, The Ascott Limited, has secured a contract to manage its first Ascott-branded serviced residence in India. Slated to open by 2016, the 160-unit Ascott Ireo City Gurgaon is also Ascott’s first serviced residence in Gurgaon. The management contract was awarded by Ireo Private Limited, the flagship Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) of the IREO Funds, India’s first and largest private equity fund dedicated to the Indian real estate sector.

scott  in India

Mr Lee Chee Koon, Ascott’s Chief Executive Officer, said: “Ascott has recently expanded into Nanjing and Wuxi in China, and Riyadh and Jeddah in Saudi Arabia. Ascott Ireo City Gurgaon has added yet another city to our global footprint of over 70 cities across more than 20 countries. We remain confident in India’s long-term economic fundamentals and continue to see potential for serviced residences in the emerging country. With the addition of Ascott Ireo City Gurgaon, we now have nine properties with more than 1,900 apartment units in India. Our premier Ascott-branded properties provide guests with discreet and unmatched personalised services in an exclusive environment. When Ascott Ireo City Gurgaon opens in 2016, expatriates and travellers to India will be able to choose from all three of our award-winning brands of serviced residences – Ascott, Citadines and Somerset.”

Mr Alfred Ong, Ascott’s Managing Director for Strategic Development who oversees the company’s business in India, said: “Gurgaon, New Delhi’s flourishing satellite city, is one of India’s most promising hospitality markets. We are delighted to bring our premium brand into Gurgaon and to partner Ireo to offer Ascott’s impeccable service to business travellers in Gurgaon.”

Mr Lalit Goyal, Ireo’s Vice Chairman and Managing Director, added: “Our partnership with Ascott is in keeping with our vision to bring world class living standards to India. Ascott Ireo City Gurgaon brings together the design excellence of Ireo and the impeccable service of the internationally renowned Ascott brand. Gurgaon has emerged as a fast growing commercial hub on the international map, attracting business travellers from across the globe. Residents will enjoy superior comfort in the luxurious Ascott Ireo City Gurgaon.”

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Rafal Real Estate Development will develop the 230-unit property, located near the King Abdullah Financial District.

Ascott Olaya Riyadh

Chong Kee Hiong, CEO, Ascott, said: “Saudi Arabia offers strong opportunities for serviced residences. It is the biggest economy in the Middle East and its GDP is forecast to grow by about five per cent per annum over the next few years.

Sym Lee, Ascott’s head for the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), commented: “There is a huge demand for quality accommodation in Riyadh but international-standard serviced residences is lacking.”

Ascott Olaya Riyadh offers a mix of apartments from studio to two-bedroom, each coming with a fully-equipped kitchen, separate work and sleeping areas, meeting rooms, a business centre and a health club comprising a gym, steam room and swimming pool.

The latest signing increases Ascott’s portfolio in the GCC to almost 1,300 serviced apartment units across seven properties located in Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

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.”

Serviced apartments are gaining popularity in China as international companies grow their operations. Also, more wealthy Chinese professionals are showing an interest in the market.

“My place is in a good area. I have a regular cleaning service. I can cook if I have time and if I’m in the mood. Also there is a gym and indoor swimming pool that I can visit to relax after a busy day at work,” said Jacky Wang, 38, a senior executive with a leading Chinese IT company.

He lives in a high-end serviced apartment in Shanghai for about three months every year when he has to deal with business affairs concerning the local branch.

“It is like a home from home,” Wang said.

As a relatively new type of residence in China, serviced apartments are much more expensive than ordinary rentals but provide better services and amenities for daily use.

Wang’s residence costs about 18,000 yuan ($2,900) a month, almost three times that of a similar-sized flat nearby. The flexible contract is a huge advantage for mobile professionals.

Moreover, people get tired of staying in hotel rooms with little personal color and renting an apartment is too complicated for just a few months, so a serviced apartment is a good option, he added.

The central government has been tightening regulations on property sales since 2010, causing a significant drop in transactions for both new and lived-in homes because most sellers want to wait until the market improves.

However, demand for high-end apartment rentals remains strong as China continues to see a huge influx of foreign-invested companies, said Jastina Balen, director of group branding and communications at Frasers Hospitality Pte Ltd.

The company plans to open more than 700 new units in 2013 and is on track to manage a total of 23 property sites in China by 2016.

“The average occupancy rate of our serviced apartments is above 80 percent in China and above 90 percent in Shanghai,” said Balen.

“The China market is vital to us,” she added.

As China’s economy progresses ahead of most other countries, many multinationals have increased their investment in the market. The result is a continuous increase in the number of expatriates that, in turn, exacerbates the demand for premium serviced residences in Shanghai.

According to the latest report from DTZ, a leading international property consulting company, the overall occupancy rate for the expatriate lease market in Shanghai during 2012 was in excess of 90 percent, with highly sought-after estates such as Xintiandi and Green City experiencing close to full occupancy.

“Generally, the target customers for premium serviced apartments consist mainly of senior expatriates and consular staff. They are often accompanied by family members and stay for at least three months,” said Choe Peng Sum, chief executive officer of Frasers Hospitality.

“These target customers not only look for residences that are close to the city’s culture and trends. They also have high standards for quality and ‘international’ living,” Choe said.

Balen noted that an increasing number of Chinese people also become loyal tenants and tend to stay with them when they travel abroad.

“Some Chinese clients are willing to stay in serviced apartments when they, for example, go shopping in Singapore or travel to Paris,” she added Fraser is not only committed to developing in first-tier cities but is also trying to tap the potential in second-tier cities, including Nanjing, Chengdu and Suzhou, while at the same time increasing people’s understanding of the value of serviced apartments.

“Although our agency targets expats living in China, we are finding more senior Chinese professionals are interested in high-end residences nowadays,” said Wang Yiyi, who works for a Shanghai-based property agent specializing in hunting for homes for foreigners. She added that more than 30 percent of her company’s customers are now Chinese.

Frasers Hospitality has just completed extensive refurbishment of Fraser Residence, located in the heart of Shanghai’s Huangpu district. The 324-unit project is located close to Shanghai’s landmark high-end mall Xintiandi.

A recent report by Savills said demand for serviced apartments will continue to grow as international companies expand their businesses in China and wealthy Chinese businesspeople become increasingly mobile and look to enjoy a more comfortable existence while on the road.

Although the market has largely been dominated by first-tier cities, increasing interest – especially for short-term rentals – is being seen in second-tier markets.

Ascott, another world leading owner and operator of serviced residences, also announced in 2012 that it plans to maintain rapid growth in China by adding eight to 10 new blocks of serviced apartments every year over the next three to five years.

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CapitaLand’s wholly-owned serviced residence business unit, The Ascott Limited (Ascott), has entered into a strategic alliance with Yuexiu Property Company Limited (Yuexiu Property), one of the largest property developers in Guangzhou, to drive its expansion plans in China. For this strategic alliance, Hong Kong-listed Yuexiu Property will leverage on its significant presence and expertise to acquire and develop serviced residences in China. Ascott will in turn provide its leading capabilities in managing award-winning serviced residences.

Ascott Serviced apartment

Besides establishing a strategic alliance with Yuexiu Property, Ascott has separately secured contracts in Guangzhou to manage two more serviced residences named Citadines LiZhiWan Guangzhou and Somerset Riviera Guangzhou. Slated to open in the second half of 2013, the two properties will strengthen Ascott’s leadership position as the largest international serviced residence owner-operator in China, with over 8,000 apartment units in 46 properties across 17 cities.

Mr Lee Chee Koon, Ascott’s Deputy Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director for North Asia, said: “China is a key market for Ascott as it continues to attract significant foreign direct investment which generates increasing demand for serviced residences. To achieve our target of 12,000 apartment units in China by 2015, we will expand in tier one cities like Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou as well as other high growth cities through investments and management contracts. Strategic alliances with leading developers like Yuexiu Property will enable us to combine our expertise and industry knowledge to further extend Ascott’s lead in China.”

Mr Lee added: “Guangzhou is among the top three cities in China with the strongest economic growth. Its economy has expanded by 15% annually for the past five years. Besides attracting investments from multinational companies in industries such as manufacturing, automobile and banking, Guangzhou is a leading city for international trade fairs. By deepening our presence in Guangzhou, we will be able to cater to the strong demand for quality accommodation by foreign and domestic travellers.”

Mr Zhu Chen, Yuexiu Property’s General Manager,said: “We entered into a strategic alliance with Ascott due to its strong branding, worldwide network and reputation for product and service excellence. Our companies first collaborated when we awarded the management contract for the premier Ascott IFC Guangzhou in 2010. The serviced residence is part of our new Guangzhou International Finance Centre which aims to be the most successful mixed development in the city. We are confident that the serviced residence will perform very well given Ascott’s track record.”

About Citadines LiZhiWan Guangzhou and Somerset Riviera Guangzhou

The 34-unit Citadines LiZhiWan Guangzhou is strategically located in the city’s historic LiZhiWan area which will be redeveloped as a commercial and cultural hub. The serviced residence is situated along a scenic river lined with antique shops and The Liwan Museum. It is also within walking distance from Longjin West Road which is known for its many Cantonese restaurants.

The serviced residence will provide independent travellers the flexibility to choose the services they require, a range of studios and one-bedroom apartments, as well as facilities such as a breakfast lounge, gymnasium and business centre.

The 32-unit Somerset Riviera Guangzhou is situated right next to the Pearl River and offers spectacular views of Er-sha Island and Dongshan Lake Park. The serviced residence is well connected to the city’s major roads, and provides convenient access to Zhujiang New Town and Tianhe Bei business districts where many multinational companies, shopping, dining and entertainment outlets are located.

All apartments in Somerset Riviera Guangzhou will be spacious four-bedroom units that are ideal for expatriates and travellers with families. Residents can enjoy facilities including a swimming pool, gymnasium, residents’ lounge and business centre.

In Guangzhou, Ascott currently operates Ascott Guangzhou, Ascott IFC Guangzhou and Springdale Serviced Residence Guangzhou.

Source : The Ascott Limited

Ascott in VietnamThe 100-unit Somerset Vista Ho Chi Minh City is located in the city’s district 2, which is earmarked to become Vietnam’s new commercial and financial centre. The new property reinforces Ascott’s presence as the largest international serviced residence owner-operator in Vietnam with over 1,800 apartment units in 13 properties across four cities in the country – Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, Haiphong and Danang.

Graham Black, Ascott’s country general manager for Vietnam, said “Our existing serviced residences in Ho Chi Minh City’s central urban district of district 1 are performing well with strong occupancy of over 80 per cent, despite current market challenges. Having a serviced residence in the city’s district 2 allows us to capitalise on the accommodation demand in another part of this city and reap the benefits when market conditions improve.”

“We are confident that Somerset Vista Ho Chi Minh City, with its proximity to facilities such as international schools, elegant design and quality product finishes, will become another sought-after accommodation option for expatriates and business travellers in the city,” added Black.

As part of The Vista – a premier residential development by CapitaLand, Thien Duc Trading Construction Co., Ltd and Phu Gia Investment JSC, Somerset Vista Ho Chi Minh City is connected to a medical clinic, retail outlets, supermarket and office facilities on its premises.

Designed by the award-winning RSP Architects, the serviced residence offers spacious and beautifully-furnished apartments ranging from two- to four-bedroom units. Each apartment comes with a fully-equipped kitchen, en-suite bathrooms, separate dining and living areas, complete with modern amenities such as washing machine and dryer, home entertainment system, complimentary Internet access and docking station for iPhone, iPad and iPod.

Residents can enjoy extensive facilities in Somerset Vista Ho Chi Minh City. These include a 50-metre lap pool and Jacuzzi amidst lush landscaped garden, a children’s pool and playground, a gymnasium with state-of-the-art fitness equipment, a clubhouse with steam room and sauna, tennis court and golf putting green. They can also relax in the privacy of their apartments or entertain their friends and business associates at the residents’ lounge or living room at the lobby.

Somerset Vista Ho Chi Minh City also offers 24-hour reception and security, housekeeping, laundry and dry cleaning services, business centre services as well as residents’ programmes.

To celebrate the opening of Somerset Vista Ho Chi Minh City, Ascott is offering special introductory rates from VND1,590,000++ per night for a two-bedroom apartment from now until February 28, 2013.

Besides Somerset Vista Ho Chi Minh City, Ascott operates three other properties in Ho Chi Minh City – Somerset Chancellor Court, Somerset Ho Chi Minh City and Vista Residences, and four properties in Hanoi – Somerset Grand Hanoi, Somerset Hoa Binh, Somerset West Lake and Hoa Binh Green. The company will be opening more properties in Vietnam over the next few years including Somerset Central TD Hai Phong City in 2014 and Somerset Danang Bay in 2015.

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