28 Aug

Ascott Officially Opens Beijing’s Largest Five-Star Serviced Residence

The Ascott Group, a leading international serviced residence company, today officially opened The Ascott Beijing, the city's largest five-star serviced residence.

The 272-unit twin tower building in the Chao Yang central business district is adjacent to the new The Exchange Beijing office tower, and close to the China World Trade Centre and International Exhibition Centre.

The group's deputy chairman and CapitaLand's president and CEO, Mr Liew Mun Leong, said: "The Ascott Beijing sets new benchmarks for the city's serviced residence industry. It is the largest purpose-built five-star serviced residence in Beijing that combines the luxury of a first-class hotel with the comfort and privacy of a home.

"We expect further growth in China's serviced residence industry, due to the country's high foreign direct investments, good GDP growth and entry into the WTO. Ascott, as the largest serviced residence chain in China, is well positioned to benefit from this growth."

The Ascott Beijing is owned by Hemliner Pte Ltd, a joint-venture company of GIC Real Estate (with 70 per cent stake) and The Ascott Group (30 per cent stake).

The Asia Pacific's largest serviced residence chain, The Ascott Group has a portfolio of 8,200 serviced residence units in 20 cities in 11 countries across Asia, Australasia and the United Kingdom.

Ascott's chief executive officer, Mr Kee Teck Koon, said that The Ascott Beijing today outperforms the market in rates and occupancy, although it soft-opened in phases only a year ago. Ninety-five per cent of its guests are corporate executives on assignments from the US, Europe and Asia Pacific.

He added that the residence is popular with expatriates in the city, as it has redefined the serviced residence product. Ascott's scale and infrastructure in China, with 1,500 residence units in Beijing, Shanghai and Tianjin, enable it to provide a greater range of services, faster and more creatively than its competitors.

"The Ascott Beijing's 'enriched living experience' programme has set new standards in how serviced residences can provide guests with a nurturing home and support community. Our resident activities facilitate guests' business networking, community integration and family recreation in the city," he said.

Mr Kee added that Ascott has redefined flexible accommodation in the city, where guests can stay from a few days to a year, and get confirmed reservations instantly over the phone or Internet. Prior to this, most serviced residences in Beijing catered for a minimum three months' stay.

Designed by an award winning international firm, The Ascott Beijing's unique décor enables guests to enjoy the rich history of the location within the discreet luxury of modern interiors.

Residents walk on a plush carpet that bears lyrics from a Tang dynasty poet about the location. A large 290-year old stone carving at the lobby, unearthed from the building site, has an inscribed edict by Qing emperor Kang Xi to a widow for her dedicated care of her parents-in-law.

The residence has also raised serviced residence benchmarks in the city by delighting guests with the latest communications equipment such as in-room broadband Internet access and DVD players, trendy recreational activities including aqua-gym sessions, and conveniences such as complimentary daily breakfasts and regular bus shuttles for shopping.

Increasing Market Share
Mr Kee said that Ascott is in discussions with several building owners to secure more serviced residence management contracts and grow its portfolio.

"We aim to increase our market share in Beijing, Shanghai and Tianjin from our current 10 per cent to 25 per cent by 2005. We will leverage Ascott's strong brand presence, economies of scale and global marketing network to add value to properties for building owners," he added.

"Today there are already 263 Fortune 500 companies in Shanghai and 158 in Beijing. The expatriate population has risen to 70,000 in Shanghai and 60,000 in Beijing. This critical mass will sustain demand for serviced residences, well beyond the Olympics."

Mr Kee added that the large pool of human resources in China has enabled the group to replicate swiftly The Ascott and Somerset residences in the country. Staff at The Ascott Beijing and the group's other residences in China have been trained on Ascott's operational and service delivery systems.

"The large talent pool in China will enable us to expand rapidly our top management team to run our growing global portfolio of serviced residences. We are developing several promising Chinese managers to lead our operations in China, and eventually internationally," said Mr Kee.

In Beijing, Ascott also operates the 221-unit Somerset Fortune Garden and 95-unit Luxury Apartments. In Shanghai, it manages the 248-unit The Ascott Pudong, 334-unit Somerset Grand Shanghai, and 167-unit Somerset Xu Hui. It also operates the 169-unit Somerset Olympic Tower in Tianjin.

Luxurious Lifestyle
The Ascott Beijing, which carries the group's flagship The Ascott brand, is targeted at top executives.

Units at the residence range from elegant one-bedroom apartments to four-bedroom penthouses. Facilities include an indoor glass-roofed swimming pool, gym, jacuzzi, sauna, residents' lounge, function room and children's playroom.




A. About The Ascott Group's Serviced Residences in China

In Beijing
The Ascott Beijing -- 272 units, Jian Guo Road, Chao Yang District Located in Beijing's central business district, The Ascott Beijing is close to the China World Trade Centre. It boasts designer fittings and extensive facilities including an indoor glass-roofed swimming pool. Units range from luxurious one-bedroom suites to four-bedroom penthouses.

Somerset Fortune Garden -- 221 units, Liang Ma Qiao Road, Chao Yang District Located in the prime Yen Sha business district, Beijing's third embassy belt, Somerset Fortune Garden is near international schools and entertainment facilities. Units range from one to four-bedroom suites, with private balconies and scenic city views.

Luxury Apartments -- 95 units, Jian Hua Nan Road, Chao Yang District (Opening Q4, 2002) Located in Beijing's prime Chaoyang residential district, the residence is near shopping centres and the popular Silk Market. Travelling is easy, with the Jianguomen subway station a stroll away. Units range from one to four-bedroom suites.

In Shanghai
The Ascott Pudong -- 248 units, Lujiazui, Pudong Boasting spectacular views of the Huangpu River, The Ascott Pudong offers facilities such as a business centre, an indoor heated swimming pool, sauna, indoor tennis court, gym and residents' lounge. Units range from one to four-bedroom suites and penthouses.

Somerset Grand Shanghai -- 334 units, Jinan Road, Luwan District Located along Huai Hai Zhong Road, Somerset Grand Shanghai is in the heart of Shanghai's main business, shopping and dining belt. Facilities include an indoor heated swimming pool and an international kindergarten. Units range from one to three-bedroom suites.

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 Road 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. Units range from one-bedroom suites to four-bedroom penthouses.

B. About The Ascott Group

The Ascott Group is a leading international serviced residence chain with a portfolio of over 8,200 serviced residence units in 20 cities in 11 countries across Asia, Australasia and the United Kingdom.

In its drive for leadership in the global serviced residence industry, the group today commands pole positions in many gateway cities such as Singapore, London, Beijing, Shanghai, Jakarta, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Sydney and Melbourne.

The Ascott Group pioneered the Asia Pacific's first branded luxury serviced residence in 1984. Today, it boasts an 18-year industry track record and serviced residence brands that are market leaders in Asia and Australasia.

The Group's luxury The Ascott brand projects an elegant lifestyle appealing to top executives. The Somerset brand offers stylish, contemporary living for senior to upper management executives.

Headquartered in Singapore, The Ascott Group's shares trade as 'Ascott' on the Singapore Exchange. It 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) 6586 7230 Hp: (65) 9628-8339 Fax: (65) 6586 7202
Email: ida.lim@the-ascott.com

Tay Cheng Cheng, Assistant Manager
Tel: (65) 6586 7231 Hp: (65) 9010 0627 Fax: (65) 6586 7202
Email: tay.chengcheng@the-ascott.com