THE business empire of Lui Che-woo, chairman of the Federation of Hong Kong Hotel Owners, is poised to expand with the acquisition of two more hotels in the United States. Mr Lui is the founder and chairman of the K Wah Group which, through its subsidiaries, owns 10 hotels operated by Stanford Hotels International, which was set up in 1990. The hotel management company has lined up more projects in Asia, which will bring the hotel chain closer to its 10-year target of 30 hotels in 20 cities throughout Hong Kong, China, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam and the United States. Stanford's executive vice-president, Heinz-U Roelz, said that at the present rate of acquisition and development, the group would have no problems reaching its expansion targets. As well as six hotels in California and Arizona in the US, three in Hong Kong and one in Kuala Lumpur, the group has four hotel projects under development - three in China and one in Vietnam. The hotel group is also due to take over the two hotels on the east coast of the US next month, details of which are still to be announced. The group will have a 100 per cent equity stake in all properties in the US. 'We like to have control and control can only be guaranteed if you have the majority,' Mr Roelz said. Stanford planned to increase its number of hotels in the US to 12 within two to three years. It also has plans for five new hotels in Asia. Mr Roelz said emphasis would eventually be placed on Asia, as the fast development of the region would require a lot of hotels to accommodate increasing numbers of tourists and businessmen. The hotel company has been finalising the details of a project in the Makati district of Manila. The project will provide for a four-star 400-room hotel, to be completed by the end of 1997. Mr Roelz said the hotel market in the Philippines had stabilised and improved considerably over the past two years. Another project under negotiation involves the development of a four-star, 700-room hotel and service apartments in Kuala Lumpur on a piece of land bought by the K Wah Group several years ago. The project is expected to take two to three years to complete. Standford is also ready to venture into hotel resports, with plans to tie up with a developer on a project in Bali and another in Cebu. Mr Roelz said he expected an agreement on a hotel project at the centre of Wuhan in China would be struck by the end of June, with the hotel to be completed by the end of next year. It would be a four-star hotel with about 300 rooms. 'I think the market is there,' Mr Roelz said, adding there would be more business as more tourists would be attracted to the Three Gorges dam. Mr Roelz said the K Wah Group was financially strong and there would be no financial problems in supporting all the projects in the pipeline. The K Wah Group has already committed half of the $2 billion earmarked for hotel investment on new and existing projects. The four existing schemes include the Grand Stanford Shenyang, the opening of which has been slightly delayed to early next year from late this year, and three Stanford Hotels in Kunming, Tianjin and Hanoi. The Holiday Inn Crowne Plaza Harbour View, which is 80 per cent owned by the group and managed by Stanford, will be renamed Grand Stanford Harbour View this October. Mr Roelz said at one point the parent company might consider floating the Stanford on the stock exchange. 'The situation is there are a number of hotel projects in the pipeline but they are not completed. 'Once they are contracted completely - we know the opening dates - then we have reached another stage and we can consider the issue,' Mr Roelz said. 'At this moment it is not the first priority. 'We have to do the groundwork first before we build something, we can't build it up when the ground is soft. 'Every company at one stage - if its growth is healthy - will think about it and no doubt we'll think about it. 'But I cannot say we have thought and made a decision yet.'