Ascott Enters Seoul Market. Secures Contract To Operate Prime Serviced Residence
Seoul, September 22, 2004 --The Ascott Group, a leading international serviced residence operator, has entered the South Korean market. It has secured its first serviced residence management contract in Seoul’s main Kangbuk central business district on the north bank of the Han River.
Ascott will manage 348 upper-tier serviced residence units within a residential and commercial development in the prime Susongdong district which is scheduled to open in the second quarter next year. The property overlooks the Gyeongbok Palace, the presidential residence and Kangbuk CBD, the most established of Seoul’s three major business districts. Nearby are multinational firms, banks, embassies, government offices and the Changdeok Palace which was designated a World Cultural Heritage in 1997.
The residence will feature studio to three-bedroom suites with recreational facilities. Ascott will manage the property for five years, with the option to renew the contract for another five years.
Ascott’s entry into South Korea expands its global footprint to 17 countries and further entrenches its position as the leading international serviced residence chain in North Asia, and the largest operator in Asia Pacific and Europe. Ascott is a subsidiary of CapitaLand Limited, one of Asia’s largest listed property companies.
Ascott’s chairman, Mr Lim Chin Beng, said: "The management contract gives Ascott a strategic foothold in Seoul, and opportunities for expansion in the country. The property’s location is excellent and superbly positions Ascott to service the increasing number of multinational companies and international consultancy firms doing business in Seoul. We see good prospects for the serviced residence business as there is a shortage of upper-tier internationally-managed serviced apartments in the city."
Mr Liew Mun Leong, Ascott’s deputy chairman, and president and CEO of its parent company CapitaLand Limited, said: "Ascott’s entry into South Korea is part of CapitaLand’s overall expansion strategy for North Asia. It will be the group’s first business unit in South Korea and will pave the way for other business opportunities, going forward.
"The North Asia region is seeing a significant increase in international business. South Korea’s recent economic liberalisation and introduction of policies favourable to foreign companies have drawn more multinational firms to set up or expand their operations in the country. The higher foreign business activity and expatriate arrivals are positive for sustained growth in the serviced residence business in the country."
Ascott’s chief executive officer, Mr Cameron Ong, said: "We are delighted to be chosen by the Shin Young Group, a leading real estate developer in South Korea, to manage their prime flagship property in Seoul’s CBD. We look forward to deepening further this relationship and working together on more projects in Seoul.
"The fee-based management contract is in line with our strategy of increasing Ascott’s global reach while remaining asset light. We plan to expand in Seoul and the major cities in Japan. In China, we will operate in more secondary cities and increase our portfolio to 4,000 units by 2008, from 1,600 now," he added.
Aimed at senior to upper management executives, the new serviced residence will provide high-speed broadband Internet access, latest home entertainment systems and fully-equipped kitchens. Residents will enjoy a fitness centre, jacuzzi, children’s pool and residents’ lounge.
Many apartments will offer scenic views of Mount Bugaksan, one of Seoul’s highest mountains and the grounds of nearby palaces, including the Cheong Wa Dae and Changgyeong palaces. The Changgyeong Palace is well-known for its botanical gardens with 50,000 trees including apricot, cherry, peach and maple trees.
The Shin Young Group, a leading real estate developer in South Korea, was formed 20 years ago. Since then, it has won many awards for its developments and outstanding performance in the industry. In July this year, it clinched the Best Developer and Best Real Estate in South Korea awards by Korean business newspaper, Han Kook Kyung Je.
Ascott’s serviced residences are market leaders in China. The group’s eight serviced residences in Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin and Dalian were collectively rated Number One in the ‘China’s Top 100 Serviced Residences’ ranking in February.
The ranking was organised by the China Commercial and Residential Property Association, Qing Hua University Real Estate Research Institute and World Executive Weekly magazine.
The management contract is not expected to have any material impact on the group’s financial results for the current financial year.
Ascott In North Asia
The Ascott Pudong -- 248 units, Pudong district
In the heart of Shanghai’s premier business district, the luxury-tier The Ascott Pudong boasts spectacular views of the Huangpu River. It offers one to four-bedroom designer suites and elegant penthouses with facilities such as a business centre, indoor heated pool, gym, sauna, indoor tennis court and residents' lounge.
Somerset Grand Shanghai -- 334 units, Luwan district
Located along Huai Hai Zhong Road, the upper-tier serviced residence 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, the upper-tier serviced residence is close to shopping and entertainment facilities in the Huai Hai Zhong Road and Xujiahui prime business districts. Facilities include a gym, indoor heated pool, lounge and tennis court. It offers spacious one to three-bedroom suites.
The Ascott Beijing -- 272 units, Chaoyang district
The luxury-tier residence in the heart of 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 Grand Fortune Garden -- 221 units, Chaoyang district
Located in the business area of Chaoyang district, the upper-tier residence 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 - 100 units, Chaoyang district
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.
Somerset Harbour Court - 106 units, Zhongshan district
Part of the prime Dalian Asia Pacific Finance Centre in the city's CBD, the upper-tier residence is a stroll from Dalian harbour's passenger station and five-minutes’ drive from the railway station. Facilities include a gym, business centre and lounge. Units comprise one and two-bedroom suites.
Somerset Olympic Tower - 169 units, Heping district
In the heart of Tianjin's prime upmarket shopping area and residential district, the upper-tier Somerset Olympic Tower is close to international schools and the Tianjin railway station. Facilities include an indoor heated pool, gym, and rooftop garden. Units range from one-bedroom suites to four-bedroom penthouses.
Somerset Roppongi – 64 units, Minato Ward
The upper-tier Somerset Roppongi is in Tokyo’s prime business and embassy area, near multinational firms, and the restaurants and shops of Roppongi Hills. Roppongi subway station is a five-minute walk away. Facilities include a restaurant, gym and residents’ lounge. The stylish studio to two-bedroom suites have broadband internet access, and a fully-equipped kitchen.
Somerset Azabu East – 79 units, Minato Ward
Located in Minato ward, a preferred area with Tokyo’s expatriate community, the upper-tier serviced residence is close to embassies and restaurants. Facilities include a gym, swimming pool and residents’ lounge. Units range from contemporary studio to one-bedroom suites.
The Ascott Group is a leading international serviced residence company with 13,800 serviced residence units in the key cities of Europe and Asia Pacific.
Ascott's global presence spans 39 cities in 17 countries. These include London, Paris, Brussels, Berlin and Barcelona in Europe; Singapore, Bangkok, Hanoi, Kuala Lumpur, Tokyo, Seoul, Shanghai and Beijing in Asia; Sydney, Melbourne and Auckland in Australia and New Zealand; and Dubai in the Gulf region.
Through its marketing alliance with Equity Corporate Housing, the group also offers upper-tier serviced apartments throughout the US. Headquartered in Singapore, The Ascott Group pioneered the Asia Pacific’s first branded luxury serviced residence in 1984. Today, it boasts a 20-year industry track record and serviced residence brands that enjoy 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 Citadines brand provides corporate executives with comfortable city residences.
Recent awards the group has clinched include the Number One position in the 2004 China’s Top 100 Serviced Residences ranking for its eight properties in China, 2004 Best Service in Serviced Apartments awards in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, and Best Annual Report and Best Operating and Financial Review awards at Singapore’s 2004 Annual Report Awards.
Listed on the mainboard of the Singapore Exchange, Ascott is the serviced residence arm of CapitaLand Limited, one of Asia’s largest listed property companies. Headquartered in Singapore, CapitaLand’s core businesses in property, hospitality, property services and real estate financial services are focused in gateway cities in Asia, Australia and Europe. The company's hospitality businesses in hotels and serviced residences span more than 60 cities around the world.
For reservations on Ascott properties, call Central Reservations on (65) 6272-7272 or visit www.the-ascott.com.