SINGAPORE - The Ascott has sealed contracts to manage nine properties with over 2,000 units in China, putting the service residence business unit of CapitaLand on track of achieving its global target portfolio of 80,000 units in 2018, two years ahead of schedule.
With these new properties, Ascott said on Thursday (Jan 4) that it has also made inroads into new cities including Harbin and Zhuhai, and widened its presence in Chongqing, Foshan, Shanghai and Wuxi.
This deal also marked a record year for Ascott in China as it added over 5,600 units across 28 properties in 2017, double the over 2,700 units across 15 properties added in 2016. In China, Ascott now has a portfolio of over 20,000 units in more than 110 properties across 31 cities, beating its target of 20,000 units by 2017.
The nine new properties added to its portfolio are Somerset Gubei Shanghai, Ascott Raffles City Chongqing, Tujia Somerset City Hub Zhuhai Serviced Residence, Ascott Jing'an Shanghai, Citadines Baoyu Riverview Harbin, Ascott Zumiao Foshan, Ascott Gaoxin Wuxi, Gaoxin Serviced Residence Wuxi and Ascott Hengqin Zhuhai. These properties are slated to start operations in stages from this year through 2023.
Newly appointed Ascott's chief executive Kevin Goh said: "2017 was our strongest year as Ascott's global portfolio crossed 72,000 units, adding a record high of about 24,000 units within the year. As we scaled up, we also opened 18 properties with close to 3,800 units last year in China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, the US, and this includes our first properties in Cambodia and Turkey. We expect our strong growth momentum to continue in 2018, and will continue to seek innovative ways to improve our operations and enhance customer experience."
Ascott's managing director for China, Tan Tze Shang said: "In 2017, we made our foray into Handan, Xuzhou, Yichang, Kunming, and now Harbin and Zhuhai. Harbin is a key political, economic and technological centre of North-east China while our entry into Zhuhai will entrench Ascott's business in South China, specifically the economic zone of the Pearl River Delta, one of the fastest growing regions in China that is earmarked for further development into a world-class metropolis. We also deepened our presence in existing cities to leverage greater economies of scale. This includes our latest ones in Chongqing, Foshan, Shanghai and Wuxi."
Ascott said it will open its first lyf property in Shenzhen this year to cater to the demand for co-living spaces from the growing group of millennials and digital natives in China.
It has also introduced technological initiatives across our properties in China to boost operational efficiency and enhance customer experience. These include service robots in Ascott Raffles City Beijing and Ascott IFC Guangzhou.
Other new initiatives include the use of WeChat or smartphone apps to allow guests to request invoices and staff to issue e-invoices instantly, as well as for digital check-ins.