30 Jul

Ascott To Open Two Serviced Residences In China Next Month Targets To Grow China Portfolio To 4,000 Serviced Residence Units By 2008

The Ascott Group, an international serviced residence company, will open two serviced residences in Dalian and Beijing next month, increasing its portfolio in China by more than 200 serviced apartments.

This will bring Ascott's presence in China to more than 1,600 serviced apartments, or 14 per cent share of the mid to luxury tier serviced residence market, entrenching further its position as the largest international operator in China.

The Ascott Group is the largest international serviced residence company in Asia Pacific and Europe, with more than 13,500 serviced apartments in 37 cities. Ascott is the serviced residence arm of CapitaLand Limited, one of the largest listed property companies in Asia.

On Monday next week (Aug 4), Ascott will open the 106-unit Somerset Harbour Court in Dalian, a key city in Northeast China. On Friday Aug 8, it will open the mid-tier 100-unit Luxury Serviced Residence in Beijing. Both properties are fee-based third-party management contracts.

Strong Growth Potential
Mr Liew Mun Leong, Ascott's deputy chairman, and president and CEO of its parent company, CapitaLand Limited, said: "China continues to offer outstanding growth potential for Ascott's serviced residence business, with its many rapidly growing cities, vibrant economy, strong inflow of foreign investments, large number of expatriates and expanding population of local business executives.

"Further growth will be driven by low interest rates, China's entry into WTO, and infrastructure development for the Beijing 2008 Olympics and World Expo 2010 in Shanghai. Today, there is a critical mass of about 433,000 foreign invested enterprises in China, and some 460 Fortune 500 companies who have invested in over 2,000 Chinese projects."

He said Ascott targets to grow its serviced residence portfolio in China from 1,600 units to 4,000 units by 2008.

Mr Eugene Lai, Ascott's chief executive officer, said: "We will achieve this expansion through securing more management contracts, extending our product range from our current luxury and upper-tier serviced residence categories into the mid-tier market, and by expanding our operations to major cities beyond Shanghai and Beijing."

He added that with Somerset Harbour Court, Ascott will become the first international serviced residence company to operate in Dalian. The city is one of China's top five in terms of the number of foreign companies. Its investor-friendly policies have attracted over 8,000 foreign companies, of which 4,000 have set up operations in the city.

Mr Lai added that in north China, Ascott plans to operate residences in Shenyang and Qingdao in addition to its current properties in Beijing, Tianjin and Dalian. In eastern China, Ascott plans to operate residences in Ningbo and Nanjing, in addition to its existing residences in Shanghai. In southern China, the group targets to open residences in Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Hongkong.

Mr Lai said that Luxury Serviced Residence marks the first time that Ascott is operating mid-tier residences in China.

"The mid-tier category targets the domestic segment of senior business executives from Chinese companies. We see this vibrant sector growing rapidly."

He added: "Our six serviced residences in Beijing, Shanghai and Tianjin are performing well against their competitive sets, and have exceeded their pre-SARS occupancy levels. Our luxury The Ascott and upper-tier Somerset serviced residence brands are market leaders. With the additional properties, we will reap greater economies of scale and brand penetration."

Mr Lai said that Ascott's success in China is due to its focus on providing consistent product and service quality, and on helping its corporate executive residents and their families succeed in unfamiliar cities. Its residences offer guests a supportive community and organise activities to help them build networks, understand the culture and lifestyle, and enjoy family recreation.

New Residences
Somerset Harbour Court serviced residence is part of the Dalian Asia Pacific Finance Centre, a landmark business and residential development in the city's central business district. The property is a stroll from Dalian harbour's passenger station and a five-minute drive from the railway station. The upper-tier residence has 106 one and two-bedroom suites, with a fitness centre, residents' lounge and business centre.

Luxury Serviced Residence in Beijing's Chaoyang district is a five-minute walk from Scitech Plaza and Friendship Store malls, and close to the Silk Market, Tiananmen Square and Forbidden City. The mid-tier residence will comprise one to four-bedroom apartments with a gym, sauna, business centre and lounge.

In Beijing, The Ascott Group operates the 272-unit The Ascott Beijing and 221-unit Somerset Fortune Garden. In Shanghai, it manages the 248-unit The Ascott Pudong, 334-unit Somerset Grand Shanghai and 167-unit Somerset Xu Hui. It also manages the 169-unit Somerset Olympic Tower in Tianjin.

The Somerset Harbour Court and Luxury Serviced Residence management contracts are not expected to have any material impact on the company's financial results for the current financial year.



About The Ascott Group's Serviced Residences In China 

In Beijing

The Ascott Beijing -- 272 units, Chaoyang district
The luxury-tier residence in the city's CBD is close to the China World Trade Centre. It boasts designer fittings and extensive facilities including an indoor glass-roofed pool, fully equipped fitness centre, and business centre. Units range from elegant one-bedroom suites to four-bedroom penthouses.

Somerset Fortune Garden -- 221 units, Chaoyang district
Located in the business area of Chaoyang district, Somerset Fortune Garden is near international schools, embassies and entertainment centres. Facilities include a gym, indoor heated pool and residents' lounge. Units range from one to four-bedroom suites, with private balconies and scenic city views.

Luxury Serviced Residence (new) - 100 units, Chaoyang district (Opening Aug 2003)
Located in Beijing's prime Chaoyang residential district, the mid-tier residence is near Scitech Plaza and Friendship Store shopping malls, Silk Market, Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City and Jianguomen subway station. Facilities include a gym, sauna, business centre, and lounge. Units range from one to four-bedroom apartments.

In Shanghai

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

Somerset Grand Shanghai -- 334 units, 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, Xuhui district
Situated in the Xuhui residential estate, Somerset Xu Hui is close to shopping and entertainment facilities in Huai Hai Zhong Road and Xujiahui. Facilities include a gym, indoor heated pool, lounge and tennis court. It offers spacious one to three-bedroom suites.

In Dalian

Somerset Harbour Court (new) - 106 units, Zhongshan district (Opening Aug 2003) Part of the prime Dalian Asia Pacific Finance Centre in the city's CBD, the residence is a stroll from Dalian harbour's passenger station and a five-minute drive from the railway station. Facilities include a gym, business centre and lounge. Units comprise one and two-bedroom suites.

In Tianjin

Somerset Olympic Tower - 169 units, Heping district In the heart of Tianjin's prime upmarket shopping area and residential district, Somerset Olympic Tower is close to international schools and the Tianjin railway station. Facilities include an indoor heated pool, gym, rooftop garden and barbecue area. Units range from one-bedroom suites to four-bedroom penthouses.


The Ascott Group is a leading international serviced residence company with serviced residence units spanning the gateway cities of Europe, Southeast Asia, North Asia and Australasia.

Ascott's global presence comprises 13,500 serviced residence units in more than 110 properties across 37 cities in 15 countries. These cities include London, Paris, Brussels, Berlin and Barcelona in Europe; Singapore, Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh City, Kuala Lumpur, Tokyo, Shanghai and Beijing in Asia; and Sydney, Melbourne and Auckland in Australasia.

Headquartered in Singapore, The Ascott Group pioneered the Asia Pacific's first branded luxury serviced residence in 1984. Today, it boasts a 19-year industry track record and serviced residence brands that enjoy strong recognition worldwide.

The Group's flagship The Ascott luxury serviced residence brand projects an elegant lifestyle appealing to top executives. Its Somerset upper-tier brand offers stylish, contemporary living for senior to upper management executives. The mid-tier Oakford brand in Australia and Citadines brand in Europe provide corporate executives with comfortable city residences.

Listed on the mainboard of the Singapore Exchange, the Group is the serviced residence arm of CapitaLand Limited, one of the largest listed property companies in Asia.

For reservations on Ascott properties, call Central Reservations on (65) 6272-7272 or visit the Group's website at www.the-ascott.com.



Ida Lim, VP, Investor Relations & Corporate Communications
Tel: (65) 6586 7230 Hp: (65) 9628 8339 Fax: (65) 6586 7202
Email: ida.lim@the-ascott.com

Betsy Tan, Executive
Tel: (65) 6586 7234 Hp: (65) 9641 6920 Fax: (65) 6586 7202
Email: betsy.tan@the-ascott.com