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The China Hotel Investment Conference (CHIC), which concluded on April 24, 2014, reached a milestone celebrating its 10th Anniversary this year. Organised by HVS and co-hosted by China Tourism Academy and Beijing International Studies University, the conference saw a turnout of over 650 delegates.

Themed “Strategy for Success through Economic Cycles”, the event took place from 22nd to 24th April 2014 at the Grand Hyatt Shanghai bringing together hospitality and tourism leaders from over 28 countries. Distinguished speakers included Elton Sun, General Manager, HK CTS Hotels; Shen Feng, Vice President, Shimao Group and GM, Shimao Hotel Management Corporation; Florian Schaefer, Principal, The Blackstone Group; Dominique de Boisseson, Chairman, A Capital Asia; Yang Weimin, Vice Chairman and CEO, Shanghai Jin Jiang International Hotels (Group).; Alex Zheng, Co-Chairman and Chief Brand Architect, Plateno Hotels Group and Stephen Rushmore Jr., President and CEO, HVS, to name a few.

An exciting brainstorming session at the conference this year, titled Top Rated Return, saw interesting interactions between owners, operators and developers on how they would spend RMB10 billion to create top returns for their firm. Xiao Qu, Program Leader for Hotel and Tourism Management (China) Program at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, led this panel to a hot debate through diverse proposals from the panellists ranging from investing in new tourism destinations to medical tourism and nursing homes. Shifting Landscapes in Capital Markets was another area in which delegates showed keen interest. The session revolved around the panellists discussing alternative methods of financing and development models for their real estate projects, as availability of funding becomes increasingly scarce. Domestic Hotel Owners’ International Brand Strategy was another session that garnered tremendous interest. Wang Lihua, Senior Partner of Zhong Lun Law Firm, through a case-study analysis of large-scale domestic real estate developers, emphasized on the modes of establishment and development, as well as the underlying risks and problems involved. Furthermore, an interesting concept identifying 3 modes in the brand development process - ‘going out’ mode, ‘bringing in’ mode, and ‘import interaction’ mode – was introduced and discussed.

While all sessions at CHIC 2014 were well-received, there were some that stood out such as ‘Midscale and Upper Midscale Segment - Is This a More Profitable Business Model?’; ‘Mixed Use: The New Formula for Success’; ‘Highlights of Boutique Chains in China - Trends, Market Outlook and Opportunities’; ‘Recovery & Risk: Global economic prospects in 2014’; ‘Best Practices on Hotel Asset Management - Realise Your Investment Returns and Manage Risk’; All sessions were well-represented with expert panels comprising leading hotel brands and owning companies, architecture and design firms, consultants, bankers, and investors.

During the event, the CHIC Organising Committee and Advisory Board, together with senior industry executives across the region, recognised outstanding individuals and firms for their contribution to the industry, by presenting the following awards:

  • China Hotelier of the Year – David Cheng, President, Wanda Hotels and Resorts
  • International Hotelier of the year – Michael Issenberg, Chairman and COO, Accor Asia Pacific
  • China Hospitality Excellence Award – Cofco, Yalong Bay Development Co., Ltd.
  • International Hospitality Excellence Award – Frasers Hospitality
  • Time Honoured Most Loved Hospitality Brand – Beijing Tourism Group

The 10th anniversary conference came to a close with the traditional tour of new and successful hotel and mixed-use real estate projects in Shanghai. Delegates toured the Mandarin Oriental Shanghai Pudong, Shanghai Jing’an Shangri-La hotel and Kerry Centre, Shanghai Marriott Hotel Parkview, Pullman Shanghai South, and Ascott Huai Hai Road Shanghai, amongst others.

The CHIC Organising Committee, led by Manav Thadani, Chairman - Asia Pacific, HVS, expressed his gratitude and appreciation to all partners, sponsors, delegates and participants for their continuous support in making this event yet another success. The Organising Committee looks forward to welcoming industry leaders to the 11th CHIC in 2015.