Malaysia’s Hong Leong Group To Create Luxury Hotel Chain In China Over Next Five Years

Guoman Hotel Shanghai Launched Late Last Month

The Guoman Shanghai is the centerpiece of the $600 million Guoson Centre

The Guoman Shanghai is the centerpiece of the $600 million Guoson Centre

The Malaysian conglomerate Hong Leong Group (HLG) is jumping into the Chinese hotel market, announcing plans to open at least 10 “Guoman”-branded luxury hotels over the course of the next five years in first- and second-tier cities throughout the mainland. Taking an approach with a uniquely (or peculiarly, depending on your viewpoint) “English” tack — in contradistinction to what HLG says is a predominantly “American”-style hospitality sector in China — HLG/Guoman hopes to leverage its 30 years of experience in the hotel industry to tap in to China’s burgeoning high-end domestic tourism market.

Last week, HLG officially kicked off its five-year China push with the launch of the Guoman Shanghai, an $80 million five-star hotel located in the city’s Putuo District, within HLG’s $600 million mixed-use project, the Guoson Centre. The company plans to open its second location in Beijing some time in the middle of 2011.

According to HLG, future Guoman hotels will center around additional Guoson Centres, which the company plans to build in first- and second-tier cities. As Violet Lee, Group Managing Director of Guocoland China, HLG’s property investment arm in China, said this weekend, “All future Guoman Hotels in China will be part of our Guoson Centres [which will] be built in Tianjin, Nanjing, Chengdu and other major cities in China.” However, Lee said HLG hasn’t ruled out the idea of opening free-standing hotels in selected cities, nor did she say whether the group will open more than one location in top-tier cities.

Elaborating on her statement that Guoman hotels in China would take an English approach to hospitality, Lee said that the Guoman Hotel Shanghai’s service staff will be trained by British Guoman specialists. “We want to create a ‘home away from home’ experience for our customers, especially those from the United Kingdom and Europe,” Lee said. “I think the Guoman Hotel Shanghai has a competitive edge over other five-star hotels in the busy central business district of Shanghai.”


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