Luxury hotel groups such as the Peninsula and Shangri-La are recognizing the global potential of their brand, especially in western markets where Chinese tourists are heading in unprecedented numbers.
The Carlyle hotel overlooking New York’s Central Park exudes glamour, history and, most of all, fabulous wealth. And for nearly two years, it has been owned and run by the Hong Kong family behind one of China’s most common high-street jewellery chains.
The Cheng family, which runs New World Group, made its fortune with the Chow Tai Fook jewellery shops. Its US$800m deal to take over the 18-property Rosewood luxury hotels group and buy five of its hotels is an example of the increasing power of Asian money in global property and hotel markets.
New World is one of a new wave of Asian family-owned groups seeking to take advantage of the huge growth in Chinese tourism, challenging big global groups such as InterContinental Hotels, Starwood and Marriott.
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