INTERCONTINENTAL Hotels Group (IHG) will launch a new upscale hotel brand in China by the middle of the year and is planning to eventually expand the brand across Asia-Pacific, according to a report in MarketWatch.
In an interview with Dow Jones Newswires, Jan Smits, IHG’s chief executive of Asia, Middle East & Africa operations, explained that the move was to enable the group to become top-of-mind among increasingly wealthy Chinese travellers.
Subsequent plans include exporting the brand to other Asia-Pacific markets to cater to outbound Chinese travellers, with Hong Kong and Singapore seen as logical choices for expansion.
Event though details about the new brand have yet to be revealed, IHG has decided to bring forward its launch date—which was originally scheduled for later this year.
“There's obviously a lot of interest in a domestically-grown brand that has got the benefit of a large international system behind it. Owners have shown significant interest," Smits was quoted as saying.
According to MarketWatch, 12 contracts for the new brand have already been inked across China, including in Beijing and Shanghai.