Skift Take

It's nice to see Hilton Worldwide out from the private company veil, and ready to mix it up publicly with competitors a tiny bit.

Hilton Worldwide CEO Christopher Nassetta is bullish about the chain’s position in China.

Asked on CNBC whether Hilton’s growth in China is greater than Starwood’s and Marriott’s, Nassetta said that Hilton is taking share away from a lot of competitors in China.

Hilton’s RevPar (revenue per available room) growth in China came in at around 7% in 2013, and Nassetta said the newly public company chain expects that to slow to around 5.5% to 5.6% in 2014 as the Chinese economy slows.

Hilton Worldwide currently has 36 properties open in China with another 135 in the pipeline. That translates into Hilton having about 15.5% of the rooms under construction in China, which it says puts it in the hotel industry lead.

Things are going even better in Japan, where Hilton’s growth was in the double-digits in 2013, and Nassetta expects to hit roughly the same mark this year.

Although Asia Pacific generates only 7% of Hilton Worldwide’s earnings, it is its third largest region behind the U.S. (76%) and Europe (10%), and APAC is becoming increasingly important.

Nassetta said he believes the global economy is only midway through the current cycle as demand growth has been “muted,” and there will be low supply for the next couple of years because the capital markets are not providing capital.

Still, Hilton Worldwide’s 5.2% full-year 2013 RevPar growth enabled the chain to “beat most of our competitors,” Nassetta said.

With the IPO completed and Hilton a public company now, maybe we’ll hear more brash talk from Nassetta as things move along.

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Tags: china, hilton, marriott, starwood

Photo credit: China is becoming an increasingly important market for Hilton Worldwide and other U.S.-headquartered chains. Pictured is Hilton's Waldorf Astoria Shanghai on the Bund. Hilton Worldwide

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