Ascott Enters Suzhou, Announces First European Citadines Brand Serviced Residence in Shanghai
Shanghai, September 28, 2004 – The Ascott Group, a leading international serviced residence company, today announced its first 167-unit serviced residence in Suzhou, and a 239-unit serviced residence in Shanghai, which will be its first Asian property to carry the Citadines European serviced residence brand.
Ascott has secured the management contracts to operate Somerset Chongrui serviced residence in Suzhou Industrial Park, and Citadines Jinqiao in Huangpu, Shanghai’s main business district.
With Citadines Jinqiao, Ascott is extending to Asia the Citadines marque, the brand for the largest pan-European serviced residence chain of 5,000 serviced apartments. Ascott is completing its acquisition of the Citadines chain at end October this year.
Somerset Chongrui is in Suzhou Industrial Park’s Phase One residential sector, a preferred area with expatriates. It will offer studio and one-bedroom suites with recreational facilities, and open in the first quarter 2006. Ascott will manage the upper-tier serviced residence for five years, with the option to renew the contract for another five years.
Citadines Jinqiao is near Shanghai’s famous Nanjing Road shopping belt, and 10-minutes’ walk to two metro stations. Part of a mixed development complex called Shanghai New Jinqiao Plaza, the mid-tier residence will provide studio to two-bedroom suites and open in the fourth quarter next year. The group will manage the property for six years, with the option to renew the contract for another six years.
Ascott’s chairman, Mr Lim Chin Beng, said: "The new properties bring the group’s presence in China to 2,020 serviced apartments. Ascott, which is already the largest serviced residence operator in the country, is on target to achieving its goal of 4,000 units in China by 2008. The larger portfolio will lead to greater economies of scale and higher margins. We are excited about opportunities in the secondary Chinese cities such as Suzhou, which are seeing higher foreign investment and expatriate arrivals."
Mr Liew Mun Leong, Ascott’s deputy chairman, and president and CEO of its parent company CapitaLand Limited, said: "China’s cities will provide strong growth drivers for Ascott. The group’s expansion into Suzhou, one of China’s key secondary cities, and the addition of another serviced residence in Shanghai is timely and a testament of the continued growth opportunities in the country. Among the secondary cities, Suzhou ranks number one in GDP and FDI growth. Fifty-two of the Fortune 500 companies have a presence there.
"Citadines Jinqiao marks Ascott’s entry into Shanghai’s mid-tier serviced residence market, and will represent the prototype for its Citadines properties in Asia. By adding the Citadines brand, Ascott is now the only international operator that can provide its clients with the entire range of luxury to mid-tier residences in Shanghai. Looking ahead, the group aims to launch more Citadines residences in Shanghai and Beijing, and in China’s secondary cities."
Mr Cameron Ong, Ascott’s chief executive officer, said: "The continuous development of projects in Phase Two and Three of Suzhou Industrial Park will ensure a steady flow of expatriates to Somerset Chongrui. Currently, there is no international serviced residence in the city. This places our property in prime position to cater to executives on medium to long term assignments in Suzhou."
He added: "We expect sustained demand for our Shanghai serviced residences, including Citadines Jinqiao. The city’s GDP grew 11.8 per cent last year and foreign investments are forecast to grow 10 per cent annually. Among the Fortune 500 companies, 281 have set up offices in Shanghai. These are excellent factors for a flourishing serviced residence industry."
He added that the management contracts are in line with Ascott’s strategy to grow its fee based income while expanding its global portfolio. Ascott targets to have 22,500 serviced apartments by 2008, from 13,800 units now.
The Ascott Group is the largest international serviced residence company in Europe and Asia Pacific, with serviced residences in 40 cities in 17 countries. Ascott is the serviced residence arm of CapitaLand Limited, one of Asia’s largest listed property companies.
The Citadines chain comprises 5,000 mid-tier serviced apartments in France, Belgium, Germany, Spain and UK. Ascott first acquired a 50 per cent interest in Citadines in February 2003, and will acquire full ownership of the company at end October this year.
The New Residences
Somerset Chongrui is in the heart of Suzhou Industrial Park’s Singapore style residential neighbourhood centre. It is conveniently close to shops and restaurants, and the Suzhou Singapore International School.
Citadines Jinqiao residence, at the junction of busy West Beijing and Middle Xizang roads, is near People’s Square, the Shanghai Municipal Government Building and Shanghai Museum. It is owned by Shanghai Jinqiao Export Processing Zone Development Co Ltd which is 49 per cent owned by Shanghai Jinqiao (Group) Co Ltd, a state owned company.
Last week, Ascott’s senior vice president Mr Yip Hoong Mun was conferred the prestigious Magnolia award by the Shanghai municipal government. The award honours foreigners living in the city who contribute significantly to Shanghai’s economic performance, international relations, business environment and community development.
Last week, Ascott also won the Asia Pacific Best Serviced Residence Brand and Best Serviced Residence property awards organised by the Business Traveller magazine. The awards are part of the established Business Traveller Asia Pacific Annual Travel Awards and are based on votes by corporate executives on categories such as best hotel, airline and airport.
In China, Ascott clinched number one position in the ‘China’s Top 100 Serviced Residences’ ranking in February this year for its eight serviced residences in Shanghai, Beijing, Tianjin and Dalian.
Last week, Ascott announced its entry into the South Korea market. It had secured the contract for managing 348 serviced residence units within a residential and commercial development in Seoul’s prime Kangbuk central business district. The residence will open in the second quarter next year.
The management contracts are not expected to have any material impact on the net tangible assets or earnings per share of The Ascott Group for the financial year ending 31 December 2004.
Ascott’s Serviced Residences In China
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, 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.
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 40 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.