Nan Fung to invest HK$2b in Sha Tin hotel foray

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 17 November, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 17 November, 2011, 12:00am


Nan Fung Development has made its first diversification into the Hong Kong hospitality industry with its HK$2 billion investment in a 539-room-hotel in Sha Tin.

Managing director Donald Choi Wun-hing said the hotel is to be operated by Marriott International under its Courtyard brand. It would be the largest Courtyard hotel in Asia when it starts operation by the end of next year.

Speaking at the groundbreaking ceremony for the hotel, Choi said he was optimistic about the tourism industry in Hong Kong - and mainlanders would be the company's target customers.

Visitor arrivals to Hong Kong reached 30.42 million in the period from January to September, 16.2 per cent higher compared to the same nine-month period last year.

The mainland led the growth with more than 20 million travellers arriving in Hong Kong in the first three quarters, up 23.6 per cent against the same period last year.

Choi said that Shek Mun in Sha Tin, where the Courtyard will be located, has been transforming into a business district and this would help draw more corporate travellers to the hotel.

The private company is also building a 500-room hotel, to be managed by Langham Hotels International, in Pazhou, Guangzhou. The hotel is scheduled to open in 2013.

'If there are any good opportunities, the group will continue to expand its investment in the hotel sector,' said Choi.

Paul Foskey, the executive vice-president of Marriott International's hotel development in the Asia Pacific, said the planned Courtyard hotel joins one already in Western.

Foskey said 10 Courtyard hotels were planned in Hong Kong and mainland cities. Seven contracts have been signed but the hotels are not yet in operation.

The United States-based hotel group recently announced that its 100th hotel in China - a JW Marriott Hotel with 345 rooms which is being built now - will be in Shenyang, Liaoning province.

Marriott operates 56 hotels in China and has signed contracts to operate 44 hotels more.

Foskey said the group would like to expand its presence in second- and third-tier cities.

In view of the strong domestic tourism, Foskey said another potential growth area will be leisure and resort cities such as Sanya in Hainan; Huangshan, a mountain range in southern Anhui province; and Dujiangyan in Sichuan province.

The hotel group is also in discussions about possible expansion in other tourism areas such as Lijiang in southwest Yunnan province and Changbai Mountain in Jilin province on the China-North Korea border.

Commenting on the property market, Choi believes the market still has support in light of positive sales at recent project launches by other developers.

The market would be supported by the stable local and mainland economies even though the global economic environment remained unstable, he said.