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Ascott targets 2,000 units under Tujia Somerset brand by end-2016

CAPITALAND'S wholly owned Ascott Limited unveiled its new Tujia Somerset brand of serviced residences catering to middle class travellers in China on Friday.

Ascott's joint venture company with Tujia.com International, China's largest online apartment sharing platform equivalent to Airbnb, has sealed contracts to manage six serviced residences to be operated under Tujia Somerset brand, giving a significant boost of 1,005 units to Ascott's portfolio in China.

"Our aim is to have 2,000 units under Tujia Somerset by the end of 2016 and this will give us the added impetus to achieve Ascott's target of 20,000 units in China and 80,000 units globally by 2020," said Lee Chee Koon, Ascott's chief executive officer, at a ceremony to unveil the new brand in Shanghai.

Two of the six Tujia Somerset serviced residences, the 76-unit Tujia Somerset Baiyue Dalian and 355-unit Tujia Somerset Xinhui Shenyang, are in operation. The other four properties are the 154-unit Tujia Somerset West Coast Haikou, 140-unit Tujia Somerset Shining City Wuxi, 102-unit Tujia Somerset Weilian Tianjin and 178-unit Tujia Somerset South Nanjing.

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Mr Lee said: "Through Ascott's investment in Tujia, we have been able to integrate our strengths in operating serviced residences globally with Tujia's online capabilities to offer guests a seamless Offline-to-Online and Online-to-Offline (O2O) experience. Following the listing of our 30 properties in China on Tujia.com, our global properties will soon be available on Tujia.com for booking as well."

Beijing-based Tujia's apartment sharing site, valued at more than US$1 billion, caters to travellers looking for alternatives to hotels, for vacation as well as business travel within and outside of China. Its website features more than 310,000 apartments covering 388 travel destinations across China as well as overseas destinations such as Bangkok, Singapore and Tokyo for Chinese outbound travellers. Besides its online capabilities, Tujia operates some apartments for owners for a fee and franchises its business to third-party operators.

As part of its joint venture with Tujia, Ascott will operate serviced apartments located within the key growth cities of China using the Tujia Somerset brand. This will include newly sourced properties and Tujia's serviced apartments in China that are deemed suitable for conversion.

The addition of the six Tujia Somerset properties will further reinforce Ascott's position as the largest international serviced residence owner-operator in China, with more than 15,000 units across over 85 properties in 25 cities.

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