CHINESE conglomerate HNA Group and Spanish partner NH Hoteles have rolled out a roadmap for expansion in China over the next five years, intending to open up to 300 mid-range hotels.

Bai Haibo, CEO of HNA’s hospitality division, indicated at an annual Spanish-Chinese business forum in Beijing that there were plans to develop “mixed-capital companies, expand the NH brand in China, and build between 200 and 300 hotels”.

He was quoted by Spanish business daily Expansión as saying that the openings would likely start in 2014, “perhaps with the simultaneous opening of several city establishments”. Beijing, Hangzhou, Kunming, Xi’an and Sanya are potential locations.

Said Bai: “We want to use Spanish (hotel) management capabilities to create a brand that is adapted to Chinese customs and international standards.”

But back in its home market, NH has been cautious about committing to a figure. The company has sent a statement to the Spanish national stock market authority CNMV, acknowledging that it is working on the “constitution of a joint venture in the Chinese market”.

NH also said the situation was “premature” to be exact about dates and the number of hotels that are in the pipeline.

Besides cooperating in the Chinese market, NH said it is also pushing its European network of hotels as the preferred brand for HNA’s outbound passengers.

HNA, owner of Hainan Airlines, took a 20 per cent stake in NH in April (TTG Asia e-Daily, April 22, 2013), making it one of the chain’s two main shareholders.



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