China Serviced Apartment Investment and Expansion Conference

George Sell By George Sell
Uploaded 12 September 2014

Dennis Bridgeforth of NOPPEN reports from the second annual China Serviced Apartment Investment and Expansion Conference.

The second China Serviced Apartment and Investment and Expansion Conference,  attended by 80+ delegates,  was designed to detail the transformation of serviced apartments in China and help identify the opportunities and risks for aspiring owners, investors, and operators.

The event was opened by Marc Hediger, CEO of Lanson Place Management, who spoke on "the making of serviced apartments".

Soon after there was a panel discussion on "How to Build a Well-Diversified and Profitable Hospitality Real-estate Portfolio in China". The panel appraised the hospitality industry's performance in China's key markets over the past three years, how to integrate hospitality assets into current real estate portfolios, and challenges and solutions for diversification. The panelist were Jingbang Zhang, the president of Prima Hotels and Resorts; Dailian Lin, managing partner at TC capital Holdings Group; Ben Ting, a senior analyst at Dalton Investment LLC, and the moderator was Michael Ma, director of the consulting department at DTZ holding.

There then followed a panel discussion on "Investment Strategy in Asset Allocation for Serviced Apartments".  Topics discussed were maximizing your ROI through hotel asset management, and how to plan and execute an effective investment exit strategy. The panelists were Yuan Ye, the CEO of Shanghai Chongfu Investment Holdings; Dennis Ye, the executive director for Real Estate Fund Head Office at Shanghai International Trust Co., Ltd; and the moderator was Kelvin Ng, the CEO of Synergistic Real Estate Management & Network Pte. Ltd.

After lunch, DTZ Holdings' associate director of Research Shaun Brodie, spoke on the serviced Apartment Market today. He spoke on his analysis on Global, Asia Pacific, China, and Shanghai serviced apartment markets, and the future opportunities for serviced apartment investments.

Kelvin Ng then spoke on "How to Successfully Integrate Serviced Apartments into Mixed Used Developments". He emphasised the importance of doing mixed-use projects in China and gave examples of putting serviced apartments within them.

The first day closed with a discussion panel on "Learning from Hotel Project Co-operations to Make Serviced Apartments Project Co-operations more Effective". The panel topics covered how to make a successful hotel project, the feasibility of serviced apartments, the key differences between hotel projects and serviced apartment projects, what are the challenges for serviced apartment projects as compared to hotel projects, and are there any good solutions from hotel projects that can be used with serviced apartment projects. The panelists were Lydia Li, the director of business development at Frasers Hospitality; Jackie Zang, GM at Shenzhen Maillen Hotel Management; Gu Ming, vice GM at Shanghai Sunac & Green Town Holding; Calvin Song, GM at Strategic Investment Department at Jinji Lake Hotel Group, and the moderator was Mandy Li, senior VP at Jones Lang LaSalle's Hotel and Hospitality Group. 

Day two started with a panel on the "Investment & Development for Chinese Urban (City) Complex and What Role Does Serviced Apartments Play in it". The panellists were Sheng Yufei, VP of SZITIC Commercial Property; William Zhou, VP of Everbright Ashmore Asset Management of China; Wang Feng, GM at East China Landvision Company; Gao Xiaoyang, executive director at Real Estate Fund Head Office at Shanghai International Trust; and the moderator was Charles He, managing director for Greater China at Alliance Advisory & Hospitality Management.

Yuan Ye, the CEO of Shanghai Chongfu Investment Holdings, presented on the "New Situation of Real Estate Market and how the Serviced Apartment Industry is looking for Great Business Opportunities from the Stock Assets". This was followed by a panel discussion on the "Current Status, Challenges, and Solutions for China Serviced Apartment Market". The panel discussed the contrast between Chinese and international standards, the differences between serviced apartments and hotel management and operation, and the profit growth point for China's serviced apartments. The panellists were James Costa, GM for Fraser Suites Top Glory (Shanghai); Byron Kan, GM at the Shanghai Centre; Noriaki Nakajo, project GM for Belgravia Serviced Residence; and Ingrid Kamphuis, GM for Shama Luxe at Xintiandi.

The Summit was brought to a close by a final panel discussion on "How to Build a Successful Urban City Project in China: the Challenges & Solutions". Issues discussed included general impressions on HOPSCA and serviced apartments in China, different ideas from local government developers, operators and investors on HOPSCA; and the  developments of serviced apartments in second and third tier cities. Panellists were John Wong, the head of China operations for Lanson Place Hospitality Management; Chester Meng, the VP of Commercial Assets Operations for the I&F Group; Xia Guoyue the GM for Corporate Development Center at Powerlong Real Estate Holdings; and Wang Gehong, a founding partner for SAIF Partners and the founder and CEO at China Young Professionals Apartments.

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