Shanghai Ritz-Carlton owner is controlled by family with corruption conviction

Sun Hung Kai Properties (SHKP), a major Hong Kong property developer, is the sole owner of the Ritz-Carlton Shanghai, Pudong.[1] SHKP is controlled by the Kwok family.

The Kwok family has been dogged by controversy. A member of the Kwok family, who formerly served as a co-chairman, was convicted in a Hong Kong court in 2014 of bribery of a senior Hong Kong official; another SHKP executive director was convicted for the same offense. In addition, after the release of the Panama Papers, it was revealed that the Kwok family owned an Australian security firm that until 2017 operated migrant detention centers and had been the subject of numerous allegations of abuse.

SHKP: A family business

SHKP is controlled by the Kwok family through a trust passed on by its founder, Kwok Tak-seng, to his wife (Kwong Siu) and three sons (Raymond, Thomas, and Walter).[2] The family was estimated in 2017 to be collectively worth about $40 billion.[3]

The SHKP board includes a number of family members. Chairman Raymond Kwok Ping-luen is a nephew of director Kwong Chun and an uncle of director Adam Kwok Kai-fai. Raymond’s son Christopher Kwok Kai-wang serves as a director and another son, Edward Kwok Ho-lai, as an alternate director. Family members make up four of the eight executive directors.[4]

Co-chairman and executive director convicted in bribery scandal

Thomas Kwok served as co-chairman of SHKP from 2011-2014 alongside his brother Raymond. Thomas stepped down after he was sentenced in 2014 for paying HK$8.5m to Rafael Hui, a former chief secretary of Hong Kong, to be the group’s “eyes and ears” in government. Raymond was also arrested, but was acquitted of all charges.[5] Thomas lost his final appeal in June 2017.[6]

Former Sun Hung Kai executive director Thomas Chan Kui-yuen was also convicted for a role in the Hui bribery case.[7] Chan had used a family trust to funnel US$8.8m from Thomas Kwok to Hui and a further US$2m from himself.[8]

Raymond currently serves as sole Chairman and Managing Director of SHKP.[9]

SHKP request divided law firm at center of Panama Papers leak

According to the leaked files in the Panama Papers release, the arrest of Chan Kui-yuen in 2012 led to a battle within Mossack Fonseca – the Panama law firm at the center of the leak – over whether to part ways with SHKP.

In 2012, SHKP requested that the law firm shut down a company, Yorkshire Limited, that was controlled by Chan. According to the Guardian,

Mossack Fonseca staff became suspicious when SHKP told it that Yorkshire Limited, of which Thomas Chan Kui-yuen had been a director for 20 years, had no purpose. They discovered that Chan, a senior SHKP figure, had been arrested weeks earlier on charges of bribing a Hong Kong government official, raising concerns that it was illegal for him to act as a director in the BVI.

SHKP repeatedly refused requests for due diligence documents. The Guardian quoted an internal exchange in which a compliance staffer asked a Hong Kong colleague: “Why this client does not provide information of the company?” The colleague replied: “This client is a very famous list co, land developer in HK. They used to buy BVI cos for their various projects.”

Eventually, SHKP agreed to supply the documents.[10]

Mossack Fonseca announced in March 2018 that the firm would close.[11]

 

[1] Annual Report 2016-17, Sun Hung Kai Properties, p. 76. https://www.SHKP.com/Content/Uploads/Reports/E00016_AR_201617.pdf.

[2] Jennifer Lo, “Sun Hung Kai’s struggle to restore investor confidence,” Financial Times, 7/31/16. https://www.ft.com/content/c558abcc-54dc-11e6-befd-2fc0c26b3c60.

[3] Louise Moon, “Sun Hung Kai Properties’ Kwok family is Asia’s third richest, according to latest Forbes ranking,” South China Morning Post, 11/15/17. https://www.scmp.com/business/money/wealth/article/2120033/sun-hung-kai-properties-kwok-family-asias-third-richest.

[4] The full board (excluding alternates) consists of eight Executive Directors, three Non-Executive Directors and seven Independent Non-Executive Directors. Board of Directors, Sun Hung Kai Properties, retrieved 7/26/18. https://www.SHKP.com/Pages/board-of-directors.

[5] Jennifer Lo, “Sun Hung Kai’s struggle to restore investor confidence,” Financial Times, 7/31/16. https://www.ft.com/content/c558abcc-54dc-11e6-befd-2fc0c26b3c60.

[6] Jennifer Lo, “Hong Kong tycoon Thomas Kwok loses final corruption appeal,” Nikkei Asian Review, 6/14/17. https://asia.nikkei.com/Asia300/Hong-Kong-tycoon-Thomas-Kwok-loses-final-corruption-appeal2.

[7] Chris Lau, “Rafael Hui case: Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal judgment in brief,” South China Morning Post, 6/14/17. https://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/law-crime/article/2098312/rafael-hui-case-hong-kong-court-final-appeal-judgment-brief.

[8] Joshua Robertson and Paul Farrell, “How a Hong Kong corruption scandal sparked strife at Mossack Fonseca,” The Guardian, 4/3/16. https://www.theguardian.com/news/2016/apr/04/how-a-hong-kong-corruption-scandal-sparked-strife-at-mossack-fonseca.

[9] Directors and Board Committees, Sun Hung Kai Properties, retrieved 7/25/18. https://www.SHKP.com/en-US/Pages/directors-and-organization.

[10] Joshua Robertson and Paul Farrell, “How a Hong Kong corruption scandal sparked strife at Mossack Fonseca,” The Guardian, 4/3/16. https://www.theguardian.com/news/2016/apr/04/how-a-hong-kong-corruption-scandal-sparked-strife-at-mossack-fonseca.

[11] Cat Rutter Pooley and Barney Thompson “Panama Papers law firm Mossack Fonseca ‘to close’,” Financial Times, 3/15/18. https://www.ft.com/content/c2501cf4-2824-11e8-b27e-cc62a39d57a0.

Letter to China Securities Regulator Concerning Marriott Hotel Owner Zijiang Group / 致中国证监会关于万豪酒店业主紫江集团之函件

UNITE HERE has sent a letter to the China Securities Regulatory Commission to bring attention to activities by companies partially owned by Zijiang Group and its chairman, Shen Wen. These activities were uncovered during research on Zijiang Group’s hotel, the Marriott Shanghai Hotel Hongqiao.

As the letter (accessible on this website in English and Chinese) details, two companies partially owned by Zijiang Group – Zijiang Enterprise and Well Tech – omitted from their IPO filings the fact that the directors of their largest shareholders had business relationships. These relationships gave Shen Wen influence over a majority of the companies’ shares after the offerings. In addition to evidence of a business relationship between the shareholders from publicly available information, directors with the same name as directors of the shareholders in Zijiang Enterprise served concurrently on the board of a Bermuda corporation.

Separately, a Zijiang Group company sold a significant stake in Well Tech to another company, Shanghai Zizhu, at a price below market value. Shanghai Zizhu was founded by Jiang Mianheng, son of former Chinese president Jiang Zemin.

The full letter is available in English and Chinese.

Who owns Marriott’s ‘Distinctive Premium’ hotels in Shanghai? (Third in a series)

Continuing our series looking at the ownership of Marriott properties in Shanghai (see the luxury hotels article and the ‘Classic Premium’ hotels article), we turn to Marriott’s ‘Distinctive Premium’ brands – Renaissance, Le Meridien, Tribute Portfolio, and Design Hotels.[i]

Where the company does not have an English name, a translation of the company’s Chinese name is included in [brackets]. For non-mainland China companies, the jurisdiction where the company is based is included in (italicized parentheses).

 

 

 The Waterhouse at South Bund, Shanghai, a Member of Design Hotels

Ownership of The Waterhouse at South Bund is split between two groups. The first group consists of Singapore citizens Eu Chow Sung Hwa Mary Nee, Eu Yee Kwong Geoffrey, Loh Lik Peng, who own their shares through a Hong Kong-based company. The second ownership interest is through 上海弘基企业(集团)股份有限公司 [Shanghai Hongji Enterprise (Group) Co.].

The Yuluxe Sheshan, Shanghai, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel & Le Royal Meridien Shanghai

The Yuluxe Sheshen and Le Royal Meridien are both owned by Hong Kong developer Shimao Group.[ii]

Le Meridien Shanghai, Minhang

The Le Meridien Shanghai, Minhang is owned by the Powerlong real estate group.[iii] Its ownership is held through a British Virgin Islands company.

Renaissance Shanghai Putuo Hotel

 The ownership of the Renaissance Shanghai Putuo Hotel is concentrated in the hands of two individual shareholders, 王杰 and 王健.

Renaissance Shanghai Caohejing Hotel

Although the Renaissance Shanghai Caohejing Hotel has some public ownership, part of it also owned by an offshore company, Premier Maker Limited.

Renaissance Shanghai Pudong

In addition to a wide array of others included on this complex chart, the Renaissance Shanghai Pudong is partially owned by affiliates of Chinese conglomerate HNA.

 

Renaissance Shanghai Yangtze Hotel

The Renaissance Shanghai Yangtze Hotel is owned by a British Virgin Islands company, Beyond Talent Holdings Limited. In 2017 all of the shares in State Properties Limited and Brightime Limited were transferred from a Jersey-based company to Beyond Talent Holdings Limited.

 

Renaissance Shanghai Yu Garden Hotel

The Renaissance Shanghai Yu Garden is wholly owned by Liu Zhengjun.

Renaissance Shanghai Zhongshan Park Hotel

The Renaissance Shanghai Zhongshan Park is owned by Tong Jinquan, chairman of real estate developer Summit Group and listed at #138 on Forbes’ China Rich List 2017.[iv]

 

[i] The chain scale established by Marriott International is in the company’s 2017 Annual Report: Form 10-K filed with the SEC, Marriott International, 2/15/18, pgs. 5-6. https://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1048286/000162828018001756/mar-q42017x10k.htm.

[ii] 2017 Annual Report, Shimao Group, p. 32. http://www.shimaoproperty.com/Upload/DownloadFile/-NV63Ltop1M1.

[iii] Annual Report 2017, Powerlong Real Estate Holdings, p. 28. http://www.powerlong.com/download.action?moudelKey=reportNote&fileName=20180409123553bLpP.pdf.

[iv] Tong Jinquan, Forbes, retrieved 7/20/18. https://www.forbes.com/profile/tong-jinquan/#60435d662d2d.

Who owns Marriott’s ‘Classic Premium’ hotels in Shanghai? (Second in a series)

In our previous post, we explored the ownership of Marriott’s luxury hotels in Shanghai. Here, we will examine the ownership of more Marriott properties in the city, beginning with the ‘Classic Premium’ brands – Westin, Sheraton, Marriott, and Delta.[1]

The ownership information we’ve compiled reflects what we could obtain from public documents, largely from provincial Administrations of Industry and Commerce and the Hong Kong Companies Registry.

Where the company does not have an English name, a translation of the company’s Chinese name is included in [brackets]. For non-mainland China companies, the jurisdiction where the company is based is included in (italicized parentheses).

 

The Westin Bund Center, Shanghai

The sole Westin in Shanghai has a minority interest held by Shanghai’s Huangpu District. The majority interest is owned by two companies based in the British Virgin Islands companies through a Hong Kong company, Koon Chung Limited.

Sheraton Grand Shanghai Pudong Hotel & Residences; Sheraton Shanghai Chongming Hotel

Two Sheraton properties in Shanghai, the Sheraton Grand Shanghai Pudong and the Sheraton Shanghai Chongming, are owned by 上海由由(集团)股份有限公司 (Shanghai Yuyi Group). That company is in turn majority owned by an array of individuals, each of whom owns slices of the company directly or through 上海由由投资发展有限公司. We have calculated their ownership stakes in the table below.

 

Individual Name Ownership in

上海由由()股份有限公司 (Direct)

Ownership in

上海由由投资发展有限公 (Indirect)

Total Ownership in Hotels
陆忠慈 (Lu Zhongci) 2.0% 2.0%
吴亚林 (Wu Yalin) 1.5% 22.0% 11.1%
包顺良 (Bao Shunliang) 1.5% 6.0% 4.1%
山佳明 (Shan Jiaming) 3.0% 51.0% 25.2%
张金荣 (Zhang Jinrong) 1.5% 6.6% 4.4%
王福祥 (Wang Fuxiang) 3.4% 1.5%
陈立华 (Chen Lihua) 3.4% 1.5%
陈福弟 (Chen Fudi) 4.2% 1.8%
严伟国 (Yan Weiguo) 3.4% 1.5%

 Sheraton Shanghai Hongkou Hotel

A number of individuals have an interest in the Sheraton Shanghai Hongkou Hotel, as does Sichuan Trust. (NB: 創力控股集團有限公司 / Sunny Holding Group is the company formerly known as 香港创安集团有限公司 / Hong Kong Safeone Group.)

Individuals with an interest in the Sheraton Shanghai Hongkou
Name English Name
周万沅 Zhou Wanqi
余瑞敏 Yu Ruimin
张文军 Zhang Wenjun
王海生 Wang Haisheng
程立强 Cheng Liqiang
孟良 Meng Liang
甘立 Gan Li
Wu Wen Tuo
Ko Tin Kwok
Cheng Kwun Fu
张玮 Zhang Wei
刘巨涛 Liu Jutao

Sheraton Shanghai Waigaoqiao Hotel

If this corporate structure looks familiar, it’s because it mirrors part of the ownership of the St. Regis Shanghai Jingan, which we explored in our previous post.

Shanghai Marriott Hotel City Centre

According to a 2009 filing with the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, the Shanghai Marriott City Centre is owned entirely by Agile Property Holdings through Maximum Rise Investments (BVI) Limited, a British Virgin Islands company.

Shanghai Marriott Hotel Hongqiao

The ownership of this hotel has two parts: One which traces to a group of individual shareholders (listed in the table below), and another which is held by Tsui Tai Wai David and a British Virgin Islands-incorporated company.

Individual Investors in 上海紫江(团)有限公司 (Direct and Indirect)
Name English Name Name English Name
沈雯 Shen Wen 楼思齐 Lou Siqi
胡兵 Hu Bing 沈国兴 Shen Guoxing
李彧 Li Wei 毛国敏 Mao Guomin
张信林 Zhang Xinlin 徐斌 Xu Bin
唐继锋 Tang Jifeng 徐云飞 Xu Yunfei
孙琦明 Sun Qiming 罗晓金 Luo Xiaojin
孙宜周 Sun Yizhou 刘铁峰 Liu Tiefeng
顾卫东 Gu Weidong 周大鸣 Zhou Daming
刘罕 Liu Han 庄国兴 Zhuang Guoxing
沈国权 Shen Guoquan 龚世毅 Gong Shiyi
郭峰 Guo Feng 范瑞娟 Fan Ruijuan
彭胜浩 Peng Shenghao 董宁晖 Dong Ninghui
周洁碧 Zhou Jiebi 顾利民 Gu Limin
徐志强 Xu Zhiqiang 金蔚文 Jin Weiwen
王虹 Wang Hong 侯郁 Hou Yu
陆卫达 Lu Weida 沈继忠 Shen Jizhong
陈勇 Chen Yong 贺美华 He Meihua
张华 Zhang Hua 戚建民 Yan Jianmin
夏光 Xia Guang 俞雅华 Yu Yahua

Shanghai Marriott Hotel Kangqiao

The Shanghai Marriott Hotel Kangqiao has three ownership groups. One portion is held by a government agency connected to the defunct Nanhui County of Shanghai.

Another is owned by Zhou Chengjian, a textile magnate, and his daughter, Hi Jiajia. In 2016 Zhou mysteriously disappeared for a week during China’s anti-corruption campaign before returning to work.[2]

The final part is owned by Su Muchao and Tang Liuqi.

Shanghai Marriott Hotel Parkview

This hotel is owned by 高华 (Gao Hua).

Shanghai Marriott Hotel Pudong East

The individuals who own the Shanghai Marriott Hotel Pudong East are listed in the table below.

Individual Ownership
Name English Name
王晓岩 Wang Xiaoyan
余刚 Yu Gang
陈军 Chen Jun
冯斌 Feng Bin
刘仁军 Liu Renjun
路一新 Lu Yixin
王庆辉 Wang Qinghui
颜江红 Yan Jianghong
张广海 Zhang Guanghai
赵洪辉 Zhao Honghui

Shanghai Marriott Hotel Riverside

The Shanghai Marriott Hotel Riverside is owned by Greenland Holdings Group, a publicly traded company.

Delta Hotel Shanghai Baoshan

While the ownership chart of the Delta Shanghai Baoshan is complex, the majority owner is 朱卫杰 (Zhu Weijie).

 

 

[1] The chain scale established by Marriott International is in the company’s 2017 Annual Report: Form 10-K filed with the SEC, Marriott International, 2/15/18, pgs. 5-6. https://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1048286/000162828018001756/mar-q42017x10k.htm.

[2] Patti Waldmeier, “Missing Chinese billionaire Zhou Chengjian returns to work,” CNBC, 1/18/16. https://www.cnbc.com/2016/01/18/missing-chinese-billionaire-zhou-chengjian-returns-to-work.html.

BREAKING: Taiwan hotel announced it will break Marriott contract in protest over chain’s accommodations of China

Concerns over Marriott listing Taiwan as part of China at two Taiwanese Four Points by Sheraton properties have led to the announced dissolution of one of the hotel’s franchise agreements with Marriott.  While the loss of the brand has not yet received much coverage in the US, multiple Chinese language outlets have picked up the story (see below).

Readers of Marriott China Observer may recall that in January 2018 Marriott sent an email survey to Chinese customers which listed Taiwan, Tibet, Hong Kong as separate countries, an act which galvanized Chinese public opinion and led Chinese government regulators to temporarily shut down Marriott’s website and apps.

We asked at the time whether Marriott had the cultural competency to manage conflicting demands from the US and China.  The loss of this franchised property agreement can be viewed as a casualty in Marriott’s failure to navigate an increasingly complex global landscape.

At the end of July, the Four Points by Sheraton Linkou opened in New Taipei City, but quickly engendered controversy from Taiwan residents over the labeling of Taiwan as part of China. A Taiwanese Facebook user posted a screenshot from the hotel’s Wi-Fi connection screen showing Taiwan as “Taiwan, China” with a red five-star-flag of China next to it. [i] The hotel’s rating on Facebook and Google subsequently dropped to 1.1 stars. Taiwan News reported that the hotel responded that it “is directly under the management of Marriott International and all foreign language content must comply with brand specifications and cannot be changed at their own discretion.”[ii]

On August 16th, 2018, the Four Points by Sheraton Taipei Zhonghe property announced that it would terminate its franchise agreement in a front-page advertisement in local newspaper the Liberty Times. On the simplified Chinese version of the Zhonghe property’s website, the country had been listed as “Taiwan, China”; on the traditional Chinese version of the website, it was listed as simply “Taiwan.”[iii] A spokeswoman for the hotel told a reporter from Agence France-Presse that its name will now be changed and it will no longer take reservations from Marriott’s booking system.[iv] As of August 16th, the hotel was not listed on Starwood Hotels website when searching for Taiwan hotels.[v]

We’ve covered the ongoing controversy over Marriott’s labeling of Taiwan and China here, here, here and here.

Further news articles on this developing story

Four Points by Sheraton Linkou controversy

万豪旗下酒店跟进更改涉台标注 台网友刷Wifi发现“中国台湾”和五星红旗” – Huanqiu, 8/9/18

万豪酒店改涉台标注 显示为“中国台湾”和五星红旗” – iFeng, 8/9/18

万豪旗下酒店改涉台标注,登录页面变“中国台湾”和五星红旗” – Thepaper.cn, 8/9/18

台网友发现万豪酒店Wifi现“中国台湾”和五星红旗” – China News, 8/10/18

New Taipei Sheraton hotel Wi-Fi screen posts flag of communist China next to Taiwan” – Taiwan News, 8/10/18

Four Points by Sheraton Taipei Zhonghe contract termination

Taiwan hotel axes Marriott contract over China naming row” – Channel News Asia (AFP), 8/16/18

Hotel drops Marriott for caving in to China” – Taipei Times, 8/16/18

抗議萬豪強冠「中國台灣」中和福朋喜來登即起解約” – Liberty Times, 8/16/18

中和福朋喜來登挺台灣!更名解約損失逾千萬在所不惜” – Liberty Times, 8/16/18

不只中和福朋喜來登!萬豪還對台灣14家飯店硬冠「中國台灣」” – Liberty Times, 8/16/18

不满被万豪标注”中国台湾” 台北一酒店跳脚要解约” – Sina, 8/16/18

不满被冠“中国台湾” 中和福朋解除与万豪集团合约” – Zaobabo, 8/16/18

抗議冠名「中國台灣」 中和福朋喜來登與萬豪酒店解約” – UDN, 8/16/18

万豪强改「中国台湾」? 中和福朋喜来登解约抗议” – China Times, 8/16/18

Taipei Sheraton cans Marriott over its groveling to China” – Taiwan News, 8/16/18

Taiwan demands correction of ‘Taiwan, China’ name on Intercontinental site” – Taiwan News, 8/16/18

 

[i] Keoni Everington, “New Taipei Sheraton hotel Wi-Fi screen posts flag of communist China next to Taiwan,” Taiwan News, 8/10/18. https://www.taiwannews.com.tw/en/news/3503477

[ii] Keoni Everington, “New Taipei Sheraton hotel Wi-Fi screen posts flag of communist China next to Taiwan,” Taiwan News, 8/10/18. https://www.taiwannews.com.tw/en/news/3503477

[iii] “Taiwan hotel axes Marriott contract over China naming row,” Channel Asia News (AFP), 8/16/18. https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/asia/taiwan-hotel-axes-marriott-contract-over-china-naming-row-10621676

[iv] “Taiwan hotel axes Marriott contract over China naming row,” Channel Asia News (AFP), 8/16/18. https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/asia/taiwan-hotel-axes-marriott-contract-over-china-naming-row-10621676

[v] Search for Taiwan, Starwood Hotels, retrieved 8/16/18 at 15.58EDT. starwoodhotels.com.

As major Chinese hotel developers abandon international brands, how will Marriott fare?

China is Marriott’s largest single market outside of the U.S.[1] China alone accounted for a full 20% of the global hotel development pipeline as of early 2018.[2] Marriott needs in-country partners in order to benefit from the Chinese hospitality industry’s rapid growth.

Two important hotel developers in China, Greentown China and Wanda, have indicated that they are moving away from international brands including Marriott, narrowing the range of partners for Marriott in China.

Greentown Executive: International Brands Have Not Adapted to China

Greentown Asset Management is a subsidiary of Greentown China.[3] (Greentown China was featured in our previous post as one of the key Marriott hotel developers in China.) Greentown China is the tenth largest real estate developer in China in terms of contracted sales.[4]

In a recent opinion piece, Xiang Xu, deputy general manager of Greentown Asset Management, discussed how Chinese hotel brands are ending the domination of the high-end Chinese hotel market by international brands like Marriott, Hilton, and IHG.[5]

According to Xu, international brands have been dominating the Chinese luxury hotel segment. One of the main phenomena observed by Xu is that foreign branded hotels have struggled to adjust to the current Chinese market.[6] He argued that international high-end hotels were introduced to China during the Deng-era economic reforms, and they were primarily catering toward foreigners visiting China.[7]

He added that in recent years, local customers became the core of the high-end hotels market in China.[8] Despite this, many international hotel brands did not update their management models, leading to gaps between what they offer and customer demands. Xu concluded that this created an opportunity for Chinese hotel companies to break the dominance of international luxury hotels by better capitalizing on future market trends. [9]

These comments come as Greentown’s mix of in-development hotels dilutes the presence of Marriott hotels compared to its current mix. On its website, Greentown Asset lists 12 current operating Greentown hotels, 9 of which are Marriott hotels.[10] But of the 12 Greentown hotels in development listed on the company’s website, only two of them are Marriott-branded.[11]

Chart: Percentage of Greentown hotels by brand, Existing vs. In Development [12]

Wanda sold Marriott hotels, plans to dissolve foreign hotel partnerships and rebrand

The Chinese developer Wanda is the leading player in China’s luxury hotel market, according to Nikkei Asian Review.[13] Through sales and announcements of their future projects, they have distanced themselves from international hotel chains.

Wanda was formerly the owner of 10 Marriott hotels, which the group sold to R&F Properties in January 2018.[14] [15] [16] On April 7th, 2018, Nikkei Asian Review reported that Dalian Wanda planned to dissolve its partnership with foreign hotel chains, rebrand jointly run properties, and operate them as its own.[17]

In a statement announcing the rebranding of a Beijing hotel, Wanda declared, “To break the dominance that other international brands held in the high-end hotel market, however, Wanda founded Wanda Hotel and Resorts Co., Ltd. in 2012, sparing no effort in building self-owned hotel brands such as Wanda Vista. Since this time, Wanda has gradually begun to withdraw management authorizations granted to international groups, and has steadily worked to develop self-owned premium hotel brands.”[18]

The actions of these major players in the Chinese hotel industry narrow the range of partners for Marriott to work with in China.

 

[1] Hotel News Nows (2017, June 20th), 5 things Marriott’s Sorenson has to say about hotels, retrieved June 10th, 2018, http://hotelnewsnow.com/Articles/146865/5-things-Marriotts-Sorenson-has-to-say-about-hotels

[2] Lodging Magazine (2018, March 8th), The Top World Regions and Markets for Hotel Construction, retrieved June 10th, 2018, http://lodgingmagazine.com/the-top-world-regions-and-markets-for-hotel-construction/

[3] Greentown China, 绿城资产管理公司, retrieved June 10th, 2018, http://www.chinagreentown.com/asset

[4] South China Morning Post (2018, January 2nd), Top Chinese developers tighten grip on housing market despite overall slowdown, retrieved June 10th, 2018, http://www.scmp.com/property/hong-kong-china/article/2126531/top-chinese-developers-tighten-grip-housing-market-despite

[5] The Economic Observer (2017, November 10th), 五星级酒店的中国破局者, retrieved June 10th, 2018, http://www.eeo.com.cn/2017/1110/316480.shtml

[6] The Economic Observer (2017, November 10th), 五星级酒店的中国破局者, retrieved June 10th, 2018, http://www.eeo.com.cn/2017/1110/316480.shtml

[7] The Economic Observer (2017, November 10th), 五星级酒店的中国破局者, retrieved June 10th, 2018, http://www.eeo.com.cn/2017/1110/316480.shtml

[8] The Economic Observer (2017, November 10th), 五星级酒店的中国破局者, retrieved June 10th, 2018, http://www.eeo.com.cn/2017/1110/316480.shtml

[9] The Economic Observer (2017, November 10th), 五星级酒店的中国破局者, retrieved June 10th, 2018, http://www.eeo.com.cn/2017/1110/316480.shtml

[10] Greentown China, retrieved June 10th, 2018, http://www.chinagreentown.com/asset/bussiness/Estate

[11] Greentown China, retrieved June 10th, 2018, http://www.chinagreentown.com/asset/bussiness/Estate

[12] Greentown China, retrieved June 10th, 2018, http://www.chinagreentown.com/asset/bussiness/Estate

[13] Nikkei Asian Review (2018, April 7th), Dalian Wanda to end partnerships with foreign hotel chains, retrieved June 10th, 2018, https://asia.nikkei.com/Business/Companies/Dalian-Wanda-to-end-partnerships-with-foreign-hotel-chains

[14] 招商证券股份有限公司, 关于大连万达商业地产股份有限公司公司债券重大事项临时受托管理事务报告, retrieved June 10th, 2018, http://www.cninfo.com.cn/finalpage/2017-08-07/1203767583.PDF

[15] People.cn (2017, November 24th),“世纪交易”再生变:富力收购万达酒店资产总价下降至189.5亿, retrieved June 18th, 2018, http://house.people.com.cn/n1/2017/1124/c164220-29666477.html

[16] Caixin (2018, March 20th), R&F Expects $126 Million Revenue This Year From Former Wanda Hotels, retrieved June 10th, 2018,  https://www.caixinglobal.com/2018-03-20/rf-expects-126-million-revenue-this-year-from-former-wanda-hotels-101223819.html

[17] Nikkei Asian Review (2018, April 7th), Dalian Wanda to end partnerships with foreign hotel chains, retrieved June 10th, 2018, https://asia.nikkei.com/Business/Companies/Dalian-Wanda-to-end-partnerships-with-foreign-hotel-chains

[18] Wanda (2017, December 29th), Sofitel Wanda Beijing Renamed Wanda Vista, retrieved June 18th, 2018, https://www.wanda-group.com/2017/latest_1229/1799.html

到底谁是上海万豪奢华酒店的业主?(系列文的第一篇)

 

万豪采用“轻资产”战略模式,也就是第三方拥有酒店物业,万豪提供品牌和或管理服务。[1] 这便产生了一个问题:谁是中国万豪酒店的业主? 我们将在接下来的系列文中从上海万豪奢华品牌开始,分析其酒店所有权结构。

本文中的所有权信息由我们从公共文件渠道获得,出处主要来自上海市工商行政管理局和香港公司注册处。 如果控股公司没有英文名称,其中文名称的翻译被包含在[方括号]内。

上海的一些豪华万豪酒店全部或部分由政府机构拥有。此外,有些公司全部或部分由中国大陆以外的集团拥有。 对于非中国大陆公司,公司所在的司法管辖被列在(斜体括号)内。

 

位处上海明天广场的JW万豪酒店

 上海明天广场的JW万豪酒店最终所有权归属上海市国有资产监督管理委员会所有。

位处上海长风公园的JW万豪酒店

该酒店房产的多数股权由丁福如持有,据新加坡历史档案处记载,丁福如是居住在上海的新加坡公民。少数股权由居住在新加坡的中国公民丁佳磊持有。

上海浦东丽思卡尔顿酒店

上海丽思卡尔顿酒店的所有权归属在英属维尔京群岛的上海新陆一房地产有限公司,该公司种子资本是以美元计价。

上海波特曼丽思卡尔顿酒店

上海波特曼丽思卡尔顿酒店是上海中心的一部分,上海中心是集公寓,办公室和零售一体的综合开发项目。  [2] 2001年《亚特兰大商业纪事报》上的一篇文章表示上海中心的所有权由Seacliff 有限公司持有,Seacliff有限公司是一家合资企业,由保险巨头美国国际集团,日本建筑公司鹿岛建设株式会社,亚洲香格里拉有限公司和亚特兰大开发商Portman Holdings合资而成。[3]

Seacliff 有限公司目前在香港运营。 Seacliff的董事会[4] 执行高管来自Portman Holdings(John C. Portman III),[5]亚洲香格里拉(Lui Man Shing),[6] 美国国际集团(John S. Whitaker),[7]和鹿岛建设株式会社(Keisuke Koshijima)。[8]

四家公司中,香格里拉表示持有丽思卡尔顿30%的股权。[9]

上海静安瑞吉酒店

瑞吉上海品牌店有两组业主。酒店一部分由光大兴陇信托有限责任公司所有,该公司由来自中国各地的四个不同国有公司持有,其中包括中国光大集团股份公司,和一家大众银行。 剩余利益归至总部位于英属维尔京群岛的Longtex 国际有限公司。

上海外滩W酒店

上海外滩W酒店位于北外滩白玉兰广场。 金光集团是一家印尼企业集团,其子公司亚洲浆纸主要控股造纸业。 [10] 上海W酒店的多数股权由总部设在毛里求斯的亚洲浆纸中国控股有限公司持有, 其余部分由总部位于百慕大的中国房地产开发商香港建设控股有限公司持有。[11]

上海衡山路十二号豪华精选酒店

位于衡山路十二号的豪华精选酒店的所有权归上海市国有资产监督管理委员会所有。

上海红塔豪华精选酒店

红塔酒店由中国烟草总公司所有。

[1] Deanna Ting, “Marriott Is Selling More Starwood Properties to Further Its Asset-Light Strategy,” Skift, 4/4/17. https://skift.com/2017/04/04/marriott-is-selling-more-starwood-properties-to-further-its-asset-light-strategy/.

[2] Featured Properties, AIG, retrieved 7/9/18. http://www.aig.com/aig-global-real-estate/featured-properties.

[3] Matt Gove, “Portman seeks fees from partners in Shanghai project,” Atlanta Business Chronicle, 2/19/01. https://www.bizjournals.com/atlanta/stories/2001/02/19/story8.html.

[4] Annual Return for 2017, Seacliff Limited, filed with Hong Kong Companies Registry, 11/08/17.

[5] Profile of John C. Portman III, Portman USA, retrieved 7/10/18. https://www.portmanusa.com/assets/lib/2015/05/19/c08c40e6a952b4e8c818b26ee2883807.pdf.

[6] Corporate Profile, Shangri-La Asia, retrieved 7/10/18. http://www.ir.shangri-la.com/ir/en/asia_corporate_profile.asp.

[7] Our Leadership Team, AIG Global Real Estate, retrieved 7/10/18. http://www.aig.com/aig-global-real-estate/our-leadership-team.

[8] Directors, Officers, Kajima Corporation, retrieved 7/10/18. https://www.kajima.co.jp/english/prof/officers/index.html.

[9] 2017 Annual Report, Shangri-La Hotels, p. 24. http://www.ir.shangri-la.com/ir/en/reports/annualreports/2017/ar2017.pdf.

[10] Business Profile, Sinar Mas Group, 2016. http://www.sinarmas.com/en/images/download/Sinar%20mas%20Business%20profile.pdf.

[11] Annual Report 2017, HKC (Holdings) Limited, pgs. 3 and 11. http://www.hkcholdings.com/attachment/2018041817320200033113667_en.pdf.

Who owns Marriott’s luxury hotels in Shanghai? (First in a series)

Marriott has pursued an ‘asset-light’ strategy, wherein third parties own the hotel properties, and Marriott provides the brand and/or management services.[1] This raises the question: who owns Marriott’s properties in China? In this post, the first in a series, we will examine the ownership structure of Marriott’s hotels in Shanghai, beginning with luxury brands.

The ownership information in this post reflects what we could obtain from public documents, largely from the Shanghai Administration of Industry and Commerce and the Hong Kong Companies Registry. Where the company does not have an English name, a translation of the company’s Chinese name is included in [brackets].

Several of the luxury Marriott hotels in Shanghai are owned wholly or in part by government entities. Additionally, several are owned in whole or in part by entities based outside of mainland China. For non-mainland China companies, the jurisdiction where the company is based is included in (italicized parentheses).

JW Marriott Hotel Shanghai at Tomorrow Square

The JW Marriott Hotel Shanghai at Tomorrow Square is ultimately owned by上海市国有资产监督管理委员会, an agency of the Shanghai government.

JW Marriott Hotel Shanghai Changfeng Park

This property is majority owned by 丁福如 (Ding Furu), who according to Singapore public records is a Singapore citizen living in Shanghai. A minority interest is held by丁佳磊 (Ding Jialei), a Chinese citizen living in Singapore.

 

The Ritz-Carlton Shanghai, Pudong

The Ritz-Carlton Shanghai’s ownership traces back to a company in the British Virgin Islands. Seed capital for the hotel’s immediate owner, 上海新陆一房地产有限公司, is denominated in US Dollars.

 

The Portman Ritz-Carlton, Shanghai

The Portman Ritz-Carlton, Shanghai is part of the Shanghai Centre, a mixed-use development which also includes apartments, offices, and retail.[2] An article from 2001 in the Atlanta Business Chronicle states that ownership of Shanghai Centre was held by Seacliff Ltd., a joint venture between insurance giant American International Group, Japanese construction firm Kajima Corp., hotelier Shangri-La Asia Ltd., and Atlanta developer Portman Holdings.[3]

There is a Seacliff Limited that is currently incorporated in Hong Kong. Seacliff’s board of directors[4] includes executives from Portman Holdings (John C. Portman III),[5] Shangri-La Asia (Lui Man Shing),[6] AIG (John S. Whitaker),[7] and Kajima (Keisuke Koshijima).[8]

Of these four corporations, Shangri-La states it holds a 30% interest in the Ritz-Carlton.[9]

The St. Regis Shanghai Jingan

The Shanghai outpost of the St. Regis brand is split between two groups of owners. Part of the hotel is owned by 光大兴陇信托有限责任公司, a corporation held by four different government entities from across China, including 中国光大集团股份公司, a public bank. The remaining interest traces back to Longtex International Limited, a company headquartered in the British Virgin Islands.

W Shanghai – The Bund

The W Shanghai – The Bund is located in the Sinar Mas Centre. Sinar Mas is an Indonesian conglomerate with holdings in paper products through subsidiary Asia Paper and Pulp (APP).[10] The majority interest in the W Shanghai is held by APP China Holding Limited, headquartered in Mauritius. The remainder is held by HKC (Holdings) Limited, a Chinese property developer headquartered in Bermuda.[11]

Twelve at Hengshan, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Shanghai

Ownership of the Twelve at Hengshan, a hotel in Marriott’s Luxury Collection, is in the hands of 上海市国有资产监督管理委员会, the Shanghai State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission.


The Hongta Hotel, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Shanghai

The Hongta Hotel is owned by 中国烟草总公司 (China Tobacco).

 

[1] Deanna Ting, “Marriott Is Selling More Starwood Properties to Further Its Asset-Light Strategy,” Skift, 4/4/17. https://skift.com/2017/04/04/marriott-is-selling-more-starwood-properties-to-further-its-asset-light-strategy/.

[2] Featured Properties, AIG, retrieved 7/9/18. http://www.aig.com/aig-global-real-estate/featured-properties.

[3] Matt Gove, “Portman seeks fees from partners in Shanghai project,” Atlanta Business Chronicle, 2/19/01. https://www.bizjournals.com/atlanta/stories/2001/02/19/story8.html.

[4] Annual Return for 2017, Seacliff Limited, filed with Hong Kong Companies Registry, 11/08/17.

[5] Profile of John C. Portman III, Portman USA, retrieved 7/10/18. https://www.portmanusa.com/assets/lib/2015/05/19/c08c40e6a952b4e8c818b26ee2883807.pdf.

[6] Corporate Profile, Shangri-La Asia, retrieved 7/10/18. http://www.ir.shangri-la.com/ir/en/asia_corporate_profile.asp.

[7] Our Leadership Team, AIG Global Real Estate, retrieved 7/10/18. http://www.aig.com/aig-global-real-estate/our-leadership-team.

[8] Directors, Officers, Kajima Corporation, retrieved 7/10/18. https://www.kajima.co.jp/english/prof/officers/index.html.

[9] 2017 Annual Report, Shangri-La Hotels, p. 24. http://www.ir.shangri-la.com/ir/en/reports/annualreports/2017/ar2017.pdf.

[10] Business Profile, Sinar Mas Group, 2016. http://www.sinarmas.com/en/images/download/Sinar%20mas%20Business%20profile.pdf.

[11] Annual Report 2017, HKC (Holdings) Limited, pgs. 3 and 11. http://www.hkcholdings.com/attachment/2018041817320200033113667_en.pdf.

何国祥离任万豪是否会阻碍公司在中国的成功之路?

各方分析师已明确表明中国对万豪未来的发展至关重要。 然而,目前该公司在中国却面临着领导真空问题。

何国祥担任大中华区万豪首席执行官至2017年12月。在合并之前,他在喜达屋的亚洲运营一路攀升奋斗了三十多年。[1] 然而,合并后不到两年,何被凯悦挖掘,担任全球运营大中华区总裁。[2]

至今,何留下的空虚未被万豪填补。在他离职后的几个月内,万豪发出了一件具有政治错误的电子邮件调查,引发中国全国各地的愤怒和抵制。

何的离职会怎样影响万豪在中国的发展?

收购喜达屋有助于万豪在中国的发展

分析师把万豪收购喜达屋与该公司在中国的主要增长联系起来。 Shawn Tully在《财富》杂志中写道,“万豪在未来十年将在世界上增长最快的主要酒店市场-中国取得大幅发展,这将可以弥补其在美国市场发展滞后的境况。 在合并之前,万豪在中国和亚洲都相对软肋。归功于喜来登一贯作为顶级全方位服务品牌的地位,旗下的喜达屋相比之下则是该地区全球连锁店的领导者。”[3]

投资者网站Motley Fool的分析师也表达出相同的看法:几乎所有的酒店公司都希望获得中国国内旅游市场,万豪在中国的良好境况至少部分得归功于喜达屋的收购。[4]

何似乎是与万豪在中国发展目标完全契合的最佳人选。 自1981年以来,何一直在喜来登和喜达屋工作,他一路攀升最终继升为亚太区总裁。 [5] 商业新闻网CNBC于2014年10月因何在喜达屋担任亚太区总裁期间的卓越表现授予其最佳旅游商业领袖奖: “在他的领导下,过去三年喜达屋在亚太地区的扩张超过行业增长速度,截至2013年12月,经营酒店数量不断增加。“[6]

万豪选择保留了何,何确在任职16个月后离职

万豪收购喜达屋后宣布了一系列的裁员举措,执行层被裁员最多。 [7] 虽然何被保留聘用为万豪大中华区首席执行官 – [8] 但是他的职务能力确大规模减小。

何在万豪工作期间一个重要里程碑便是与阿里巴巴签署了合作协议。 在2017年期间,万豪大中华区RevPAR(一项关键绩效指标)同比增长8.5%。[9]

尽管如此,在2017年12月何最终还是离开了万豪酒店。他的离职未对外公布。 根据他的领英个人资料上所写,他在接下来的几个月里会“稍作休息一下”。 [10] 截至4月,凯悦已聘请何担任全球运营大中华区总裁。[11]

谁能填补何在万豪的职位空缺?

自从他离职后,万豪还没有替补何的职位。[12] 自2015年起,Craig Smith担任万豪亚太区总裁兼董事总经理,[13] 之前,他曾担任加勒比和拉丁美洲地区万豪酒店总裁两年半时间。Smith在万豪亚太地区最多工作了14年。 [14] 根据《中国日报》的报道,万豪在今年早些时候向中国客户发送了一封政治不敏感的邮件后,Smith对此道歉说:“这是一个巨大的错误,可能是我职业生涯中最大的错误之一。”[15]

FDI Intelligence引用Smith的话说:“我希望我们的中国团队由中国人组成,而不是西方人,因为我们永远不会像中国人那样了解中国。”[16] 2016年11月任命的现任万豪大中华区运营副总裁是Richard Taffs。[17] 在领英资料上,Smith和Taffs斯都没有注明他们有任何中文交流的能力。[18]

在尤为重要的领域,万豪为什么还没有找到替补何所留下的关键空缺? 何的相对快速的离职对公司未来在中国的发展释放出什么信号?

 

[1] Stephen Ho, LinkedIn Profile, retrieved 6/25/18. https://www.linkedin.com/in/stephen-ho-704ab312a/.

[2] “Hyatt Appoints Industry Leader Stephen Ho as President – Greater China, Global Operations,” Hyatt Corporation, 3/14/2018.
http://newsroom.hyatt.com/news-releases?item=123658.

[3] Shawn Tully, “Why Hotel Giant Marriott Is on an Expansion Binge as It Fends Off Airbnb,” Fortune, 6/14/17. http://fortune.com/2017/06/14/marriott-arne-sorenson-starwood-acquisition-airbnb/

[4] Bradley Seth McNew, “Why China Is So Important for Marriott International and Hilton Worldwide,” Motley Fool, 10/12/16. https://www.fool.com/investing/2016/10/12/china-is-still-marriott-and-hiltons-most-important.aspx.

[5] Stephen Ho, LinkedIn Profile, retrieved 6/25/18. https://www.linkedin.com/in/stephen-ho-704ab312a/.

[6] “Region’s Top Travel and Tourism Leader Named at the 2014 CNBC Travel Business Leader Award,” CNBC, 10/28/2014. https://www.cnbc.com/2014/10/28/regions-top-travel-and-tourism-leader-named-at-the-2014-cnbc-travel-business-leader-award.html.

[7] “Starwood Layoffs at Headquarters Are Set to Begin By Year’s End,” Skift, 11/1/2016. https://skift.com/2016/11/01/starwood-layoffs-at-headquarters-are-set-to-begin-by-years-end/.

[8]  Stephen Ho, LinkedIn Profile, retrieved 6/25/18. https://www.linkedin.com/in/stephen-ho-704ab312a/.

[9] Marriott Q1 2018 Investor Factbook, p. K-14. https://marriott.gcs-web.com/static-files/be3e4b14-5761-4a18-aca9-d265589a7403.

[10]  Stephen Ho, LinkedIn Profile, retrieved 6/25/18. https://www.linkedin.com/in/stephen-ho-704ab312a/.

[11] “Hyatt Appoints Industry Leader Stephen Ho as President – Greater China, Global Operations,” Hyatt Corporation, 3/14/2018.
http://newsroom.hyatt.com/news-releases?item=123658.

[12] “Executive Leadership,” Marriott International, retrieved 7/5/2018. http://news.marriott.com/p/executive-leadership/. Compared with the archived version from September 2017, Ho’s former position is not listed on the current version of the site. See also: Restored Website, news.marriott.com/p/executive-leadership/, screen capture 9/6/2017 @ 4:40:18, Internet Archive (Wayback Machine), retrieved 7/5/2018. https://web.archive.org/web/20170916044018/http://news.marriott.com/p/executive-leadership/.

[13] Craig Smith, LinkedIn profile, retrieved 7/16/18. https://www.linkedin.com/in/craig-s-smith-083010a1/.

[14] As of a June 2012 analyst meeting, Smith had been with Marriott in the Asia-Pacific region for 8 years. (Marriott International Security Analyst Meeting Transcript, 6/19/18, p. 33. https://marriott.gcs-web.com/static-files/3f085930-b296-46a2-ad4a-f6aa957aa654). According to Smith’s LinkedIn, he served as President of the Carribbean and Latin America region from January 2013 to May 2015, after which he returned to Asia Pacific. (Craig Smith, LinkedIn profile, retrieved 7/16/18. https://www.linkedin.com/in/craig-s-smith-083010a1/)

[15] Xu Junqian, “Marriott announces ‘rectification plan’ to regain trust,” China Daily, 1/18/18. http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/a/201801/18/WS5a600374a310e4ebf433e9ac.html.

[16] Natasha Turak, “View from the C-Suite: Marriott finds Marriott finds China’s middle ground,” FDI Intelligence, 12/14/17. https://www.fdiintelligence.com/Sectors/Hotels-Tourism/View-from-the-C-Suite-Marriott-finds-Marriott-finds-China-s-middle-ground.

[17] Richard Taffs, LinkedIn Profile, retrieved 7/16/18. https://www.linkedin.com/in/richard-taffs-45309a18

[18] Craig Smith, LinkedIn profile, retrieved 7/16/18. https://www.linkedin.com/in/craig-s-smith-083010a1/; Richard Taffs, LinkedIn Profile, retrieved 7/16/18. https://www.linkedin.com/in/richard-taffs-45309a18

Does Stephen Ho’s departure from Marriott hinder the company’s ability to succeed in China?

Analysts have made it clear how critical China is to Marriott’s future. However, currently the company faces a leadership vacuum in that country.

Stephen Ho served as the CEO of Greater China for Marriott until December 2017. Prior to the merger he had spent more than three decades rising through the ranks of Starwood’s Asian operations.[1] However, less than two years after the merger, Ho was scooped up by Hyatt to serve as President – Greater China, Global Operations.[2]

Ho has not been replaced. Within a few months of his departure, the company sent out a politically incorrect email survey, inciting outrage across China.

How does Ho’s departure square with Marriott’s imperative to grow in China?

Marriott’s acquisition of Starwood was supposed to assist growth in China

Analysts have connected Marriott’s purchase of Starwood with the company’s major growth in China. Writing in Fortune, Shawn Tully pointed out, “Marriott, however, could compensate for a U.S. slowdown with gigantic growth in what will, over the next decade, be the world’s fastest-growing major hotel market: China. Prior to the merger, Marriott was relatively weak both in China and across Asia. Starwood, by contrast, was the leader in the region among global chains, thanks to Sheraton’s long-standing position as a top full-service brand.”[3]

An analyst for investor website Motley Fool sounded the same themes: arguing that while virtually every lodging company hoped to get a piece of the Chinese domestic tourist market, Marriott’s good positioning in China was at least partly attributable to the Starwood purchase.[4]

Ho would seem to be a natural fit with Marriott’s goal of growing in China. Ho climbed through the ranks of Sheraton and Starwood since 1981 to become President of Asia Pacific.[5] The business news network CNBC awarded Ho its Travel Business Leader of the Year in October 2014 for his success as President of Starwood Asia Pacific: “Under his leadership, Starwood’s expansion in Asia Pacific has outpaced the industry with new hotel openings over the last three years and growing the number of operating hotels as of December 2013.”[6]

Marriott retained Ho, only to see him leave after 16 months

The acquisition of Starwood by Marriott was followed by the announcement by Marriott of a series of lay-offs of former Starwood employees, with most of the job cuts at the executive level.[7] Although Ho was retained, he was appointed Marriott’s CEO Greater China[8] – a significant narrowing of his portfolio.

A significant milestone of Ho’s tenure with Marriott was the partnership agreement signed with Alibaba. Over the course of 2017, Marriott’s Greater China RevPAR (a key performance metric) grew 8.5% year over year.[9]

Nonetheless, Ho left Marriott in December 2017. His departure was not announced. He spent the next months “Taking a Break,” according to his LinkedIn profile.[10] By April, Hyatt had hired Ho to serve as President – Greater China, Global Operations.[11]

Can anyone fill Ho’s shoes at Marriott?

Since his departure, Ho’s former position has not been filled by Marriott.[12] Marriott’s President and Managing Director for Asia Pacific, Craig Smith, previously served for two and a half years as President of Marriott’s Caribbean and Latin American region before moving to his current role in 2015.[13] Smith has served for Marriott for at most 14 years in Asia-Pacific.[14] After Marriott sent out a politically insensitive email to Chinese customers earlier this year, Smith apologized for the incident, according to China Daily: “This is a huge mistake, probably one of the biggest in my career.”[15]

Smith was quoted in FDI Intelligence stating, “I want our China team to be Chinese, not Westerners running it, because we will never understand China like the Chinese.”[16] The current Vice President of Operations – Greater China for Marriott is Richard Taffs, appointed in November 2016.[17] Neither Smith nor Taffs have stated that they have any fluency in Chinese in their LinkedIn profiles.[18]

Why hasn’t Marriott found a replacement for Ho’s key role in a key region? What does his relatively quick departure signal about the company’s future in China?

 

[1] Stephen Ho, LinkedIn Profile, retrieved 6/25/18. https://www.linkedin.com/in/stephen-ho-704ab312a/.

[2] “Hyatt Appoints Industry Leader Stephen Ho as President – Greater China, Global Operations,” Hyatt Corporation, 3/14/2018.
http://newsroom.hyatt.com/news-releases?item=123658.

[3] Shawn Tully, “Why Hotel Giant Marriott Is on an Expansion Binge as It Fends Off Airbnb,” Fortune, 6/14/17. http://fortune.com/2017/06/14/marriott-arne-sorenson-starwood-acquisition-airbnb/

[4] Bradley Seth McNew, “Why China Is So Important for Marriott International and Hilton Worldwide,” Motley Fool, 10/12/16. https://www.fool.com/investing/2016/10/12/china-is-still-marriott-and-hiltons-most-important.aspx.

[5] Stephen Ho, LinkedIn Profile, retrieved 6/25/18. https://www.linkedin.com/in/stephen-ho-704ab312a/.

[6] “Region’s Top Travel and Tourism Leader Named at the 2014 CNBC Travel Business Leader Award,” CNBC, 10/28/2014. https://www.cnbc.com/2014/10/28/regions-top-travel-and-tourism-leader-named-at-the-2014-cnbc-travel-business-leader-award.html.

[7] “Starwood Layoffs at Headquarters Are Set to Begin By Year’s End,” Skift, 11/1/2016. https://skift.com/2016/11/01/starwood-layoffs-at-headquarters-are-set-to-begin-by-years-end/.

[8]  Stephen Ho, LinkedIn Profile, retrieved 6/25/18. https://www.linkedin.com/in/stephen-ho-704ab312a/.

[9] Marriott Q1 2018 Investor Factbook, p. K-14. https://marriott.gcs-web.com/static-files/be3e4b14-5761-4a18-aca9-d265589a7403.

[10]  Stephen Ho, LinkedIn Profile, retrieved 6/25/18. https://www.linkedin.com/in/stephen-ho-704ab312a/.

[11] “Hyatt Appoints Industry Leader Stephen Ho as President – Greater China, Global Operations,” Hyatt Corporation, 3/14/2018.
http://newsroom.hyatt.com/news-releases?item=123658.

[12] “Executive Leadership,” Marriott International, retrieved 7/5/2018. http://news.marriott.com/p/executive-leadership/. Compared with the archived version from September 2017, Ho’s former position is not listed on the current version of the site. See also: Restored Website, news.marriott.com/p/executive-leadership/, screen capture 9/6/2017 @ 4:40:18, Internet Archive (Wayback Machine), retrieved 7/5/2018. https://web.archive.org/web/20170916044018/http://news.marriott.com/p/executive-leadership/.

[13] Craig Smith, LinkedIn profile, retrieved 7/16/18. https://www.linkedin.com/in/craig-s-smith-083010a1/.

[14] As of a June 2012 analyst meeting, Smith had been with Marriott in the Asia-Pacific region for 8 years. (Marriott International Security Analyst Meeting Transcript, 6/19/18, p. 33. https://marriott.gcs-web.com/static-files/3f085930-b296-46a2-ad4a-f6aa957aa654). According to Smith’s LinkedIn, he served as President of the Carribbean and Latin America region from January 2013 to May 2015, after which he returned to Asia Pacific. (Craig Smith, LinkedIn profile, retrieved 7/16/18. https://www.linkedin.com/in/craig-s-smith-083010a1/)

[15] Xu Junqian, “Marriott announces ‘rectification plan’ to regain trust,” China Daily, 1/18/18. http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/a/201801/18/WS5a600374a310e4ebf433e9ac.html.

[16] Natasha Turak, “View from the C-Suite: Marriott finds Marriott finds China’s middle ground,” FDI Intelligence, 12/14/17. https://www.fdiintelligence.com/Sectors/Hotels-Tourism/View-from-the-C-Suite-Marriott-finds-Marriott-finds-China-s-middle-ground.

[17] Richard Taffs, LinkedIn Profile, retrieved 7/16/18. https://www.linkedin.com/in/richard-taffs-45309a18

[18] Craig Smith, LinkedIn profile, retrieved 7/16/18. https://www.linkedin.com/in/craig-s-smith-083010a1/; Richard Taffs, LinkedIn Profile, retrieved 7/16/18. https://www.linkedin.com/in/richard-taffs-45309a18