Upping the swank factor
While almost everybody else in China was glued to news about the Olympics, Singapore-based Frasers Hospitality yesterday opened its swankiest digs to date in the country, the 357-unit Fraser Suites CBD in Beijing, which cost US$135 million ($190 million).
Singapore President S R Nathan, in the Chinese capital at the invitation of that country’s government to watch the Games, took time out to open the 23-storey, purpose-built serviced apartment building, Frasers Hospitality’s second serviced block in Beijing and its sixth in China.
“China is the world’s biggest growth engine and Beijing is at the heart of this,” said Mr Choe Peng Sum, Frasers Hospitality’s chief executive. “Owning our own property in China puts us in a unique position in this market. Unlike other international brands, we are firmly planting our feet in China and we are here to stay.”
Fraser Suites, in the heart of Beijing’s business district, is part of a mixed-use development that also includes office and residential towers, as well as a retail mall by China’s biggest shipping group, Cosco, from whom Frasers bought the site.
The apartments come in a mix of studios or one- and two-bedroom units, and aretargeted at expatriates working here.
Frasers’ faith in China is amply testified by its plans to open at least another half-dozen properties in the country over the next 18 months. Added Mr Choe: “Our business development team is signing up more properties so that we may have up to 20 properties under the Frasers brand before the close of 2010.”
Besides Beijing, Nanjing, Shanghai and Shenzhen, Frasers will have apartments in Tianjin, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Dalian, Suzhou, Xian, Chongqing, Hangzhou, Wuxi and Hong Kong.
“Demand for our unique bled of hospitality, comfort, luxury and full service has been growing worldwide, particularly in a newly-developing economy like China which is so open to foreign business,” Mr Choe said.
Besides China, Frasers is targeting India, Vietnam, the Middle East and Eastern Europe. It’s currently operates over 5,000 units around the world, making it the second-largest serviced apartments operator in Singapore after CapitaLand’s Ascott Group.
A unit of Fraser and Neave, Frasers Hospitality hopes to 8,500 serviced units in its international portfolio before the decade is out.
Source : Today – 15 Aug 2008