04 Dec

Ascott Opens Somerset Fortune Garden, Making It The Largest Serviced Residence Chain In Beijing

The Ascott Group, Asia Pacific's largest serviced residence company, has soft-opened Somerset Fortune Garden in Beijing, making it the largest serviced residence chain in the capital city.

The 211-unit serviced residence in the prime Yen Sha (Liang Ma He) central business district increases the group's portfolio in Beijing to 483 units. The group is also one of the largest branded serviced residence operators in China with 1,400 units in Beijing, Shanghai and Tianjin.

The serviced residence arm of CapitaLand Limited, The Ascott Group has over 7,000 units in 19 cities in the Asia Pacific and United Kingdom.

The group’s deputy chairman and CapitaLand’s president and CEO, Mr Liew Mun Leong, said: "The Ascott Group has made significant headway in growing its leadership in key regions. Today it has pole position in gateway cities in Australia, the UK, China and in Singapore.

"Our increasing presence in Beijing and Shanghai are part of our strategy to expand operations in growth markets in the global property cycle.

"Our serviced residences are performing very well in China. We see further growth potential for the group with the country’s recent entry to the World Trade Organisation, its favourable economic policies, and the increased business activity, especially in the hospitality industry, arising from its preparation for the 2008 Olympics."

The Ascott Group’s chief executive officer, Mr Kee Teck Koon, said that the group's opening of Somerset Fortune Garden only a few months after launching the 272-unit The Ascott Beijing in the city, reflects the strong demand for its residences in China.

"We accelerated the opening of Somerset Fortune Garden to take advantage of the vigorous market. The Ascott Beijing achieved over 70 per cent occupancy on 134 operational units, in just three months, as it opened in phases.

"This record stabilisation period for a serviced residence speaks volumes of the brand recognition we have achieved, the competitive edge of our pre-opening process, and our international sales and marketing network," he said.

"With Somerset Fortune Garden now in operation, we will be able to drive further economies of scale and higher operating margins. As a leading player in China, with strong brand recognition, we are in an excellent position to compete for more third party management contracts," added Mr Kee.

Apart from The Ascott Beijing and Somerset Fortune Garden in Beijing, The Ascott Group has three serviced residences in Shanghai -- the 248-unit The Ascott Pudong, 334-unit Somerset Grand Shanghai, and 167-unit Somerset Xu Hui. In Tianjin, it operates the 169-unit Somerset Olympic Tower.

Stylish Lifestyle

As part of the group's Somerset brand of serviced residences, the 26-storey Somerset Fortune Garden depicts a stylish lifestyle that appeals to middle and upper management executives.

Its one to four-bedroom apartments feature private balconies and scenic city views. Facilities include a business centre, residents’ lounge, indoor swimming pool, gym, sauna and children's playroom. It also has convenient F&B and retail outlets, such as a mini-mart, on the ground floor.

The group's flagship The Ascott brand offers luxurious serviced residences for top executives, such as at The Ascott Beijing and The Ascott Pudong.


Mr Kee said that with Somerset Fortune Garden and The Ascott Beijing being the few fully-serviced residences in the city, the group’s The Ascott Training Institute had to begin staff training several months prior to the opening of the residences.

"In cities where our operational concepts are new, we would typically invest more time and resources to ensure that staff live our methodologies and service passion. It is vital, in building global brands, to ensure consistent service and product quality in all our properties, anywhere in the world," he said.

Mr Kee added that the group has included its pool of 25 Chinese managers, from its six serviced residences in the country, in its regional leadership development programme.

"Our Chinese middle managers have exceptional focus and enthusiasm. We would like to eventually see them run a greater part of our China operations, and to join our pool of international general managers," he said.




The Ascott Group’s Residences in China

In Beijing
Somerset Fortune Garden – soft-opened in November
211 units, Liang Ma Qiao Road, Chao Yang District
Located within the prime Yen Sha business district, Bejing's third embassy belt, Somerset Fortune Garden is near international schools and entertainment facilities. Units range from one to four-bedroom apartments, with private balconies and scenic city views.

The Ascott Beijing -- 272 units, Dong Huan Nan Lu, Jian Guo Men Wai
Centrally located in the heart of Beijing's business, residential and shopping district, The Ascott Beijing is close to the China World Trade Centre. It offers from one-bedroom units to penthouses with designer fittings, and an indoor glass-roofed swimming pool with floating flower displays.

In Shanghai
The Ascott Pudong -- 248 units, Lujiazui, Pudong
Boasting spectacular views of the Huangpu River, The Ascott Pudong offers elegantly furnished units ranging from one to four-bedroom apartments and penthouses. Facilities include a business centre, an indoor heated swimming pool, sauna, indoor tennis court, gym and lounge.

Somerset Grand Shanghai -- 334 units, Jinan Road, Lu Wan District
Located along Huai Hai Zhong Lu, Somerset Grand Shanghai is in the heart of Shanghai's main business, shopping and dining belt. It offers one to three-bedroom units, and facilities such as an indoor heated swimming pool and an international kindergarten.

Somerset Xu Hui -- 167 units, Shanxinan Road, Xu Hui District
Situated in the Xu Hui residential estate, Somerset Xu Hui is close to shopping and entertainment facilities in Huai Hai Zhong Lu and Xu Jia Hui. It offers spacious one to three-bedroom units with speedy Internet access.

In Tianjin
Somerset Olympic Tower -- 169 units, Chengdu Dao, Heping District
In the heart of Tianjin's major up-market shopping area and prime residential district, Somerset Olympic Tower is conveniently close to international schools and the Tianjin railway station. It offers one to four-bedroom units, duplexes and penthouses, and the full range of amenities.

About The Ascott Group

The Ascott Group is Asia Pacific's largest serviced residence company. Its The Ascott and Somerset serviced residence brands are market leaders in the region.

The group aims to enrich the well-being of its residents who live and work away from home. Its serviced residences span over 7,000 units in 19 cities in 10 countries across Asia, Australasia and the United Kingdom.

Its luxury The Ascott brand projects an elegant lifestyle that appeals to top executives. Its Somerset brand offers stylish living for senior to upper management executives.

Headquartered in Singapore, The Ascott Group's shares trade as 'Ascott' on the Singapore Exchange. The group is the serviced residence arm of CapitaLand Limited, Southeast Asia’s largest listed property company.



Ida Lim, Vice President, Investor Relations & Corporate Communications
Tel: (65) 65867-230 Hp: (65) 9628- 8339 Fax: (65) 62272-220
Email: ida.lim@the-ascott.com

Tay Cheng Cheng, Assistant Manager
Tel: (65) 5867-231 Hp: (65) 9010- 0627 Fax: (65) 5867-202
Email: tay.chengcheng@the-ascott.com