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Chinese Investors Buy International Hotel Brands to Keep Up With Chinese Tourists

Jun 21, 2014 4:00 pm

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Will Chinese corporate leadership give these properties an edge on attracting guests from China? Or is it really just the brand that matters?

— Jason Clampet

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Marriott Hotels

Paris Marriott Hotel Champs-Elysees. Marriott Hotels


Stable investment returns and increasing Chinese outbound tourism have prompted Chinese companies to purchase more overseas luxury properties in recent years, some investment experts said.

Kai Yuan Holdings Ltd, a Hong Kong-listed investment holding company focusing on industrial investments, announced on Monday that it would spend 344.512 million euros ($471.94 million) on the property and operation of Paris Marriott Hotel Champs-Elysees, the only five-star hotel located on the Champs-Elysees.

In mid-2013, Fosun International Ltd, an investment group for insurance, industrial operations, investment and asset management based in Shanghai, also made a joint proposal with Ardian, a private equity firm, to purchase 80 per cent of the shares of Club Mediterranee SA, a global resort hotel group based in France, and the two purchasers already had 20 per cent shares of Club Med.

The fast-growing Chinese outbound tourists group and their strong consumption power drew Chinese investors to the overseas hotel properties, some analysts said.

“Travel is a driving factor for Chinese companies purchasing hotel properties in tourism destinations,” said Xia Yangyang, director of international capital group at Jones Lang LaSalle China.

The number of Chinese residents traveling overseas in 2013 was 98.19 million person-trips, with an 18 per cent year-on-year growth, and their consumption increased by 26.8 per cent compared with 2012 to $128.7 billion in 2013, the China Tourism Academy said in statement.

Chinese investors also try to get a piece of pie from outbound tourism market and their hotels will be attractive for Chinese travelers, as they could provide more Chinese services, such as Mandarin services and Chinese food, Xia said.

Kai Yuan Holdings said in its announcement that once the acquisition is completed, more marketing efforts would be focused on the China market. “The group believes there is potential to attract more Chinese customers and further improve the current occupancy rate of the hotel,” Kai Yuan Holdings said.

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