Wanda to end partnerships with foreign hotel operators

JLL predicts China will see a boost hotel transaction numbers as local investor interest rises.
Wanda Vista Beijing, China. Photo credit: Wanda Hotels & Resorts

Dalian Wanda Group is dropping its partnerships with foreign hotel operators, including Hyatt, InterContinental Hotels Group, AccorHotels Group and Hilton, to focus on building its own hotel brands, according to a Mingtiandi report

The group is allowing existing hotel contracts with these partners to expire, according to a Nikkei Asian Review report. Wanda will manage its newly developed hotels under its own operating company. 

Wanda has also planned to begin operating many of its domestic hotels as Wanda Reign, Wanda Realm and Wanda Vista properties—the companies own brands. The first to rebrand was the Sofitel Wanda Beijing operated by Accor, which now operates as the Wanda Vista Beijing. Wang Jianlin, Dalian Wanda Group chair, aims to rebrand approximately 10 existing hotels under its the group's own brands.

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The company currently owns 50 properties under foreign brands, including those from Hilton, Hyatt, Marriott and IHG. Guangzhou R&F Properties took over 21 of these hotels in July 2017 in its deal to buy 77 of Wanda's hotel assets for $2.9 billion. The groups later adjusted the deal to sell 73 hotels for $3 billion.  

Wanda began the shift toward hotel management to generate enough profits to pay off debt. Meanwhile, Wanda subsidiary Dalian Wanda Commercial Properties has been selling off its foreign assets to raise cash and repay its $2-billion worth of overseas debt. Wanda also disposed of its hotel projects in Sydney and on Australia's Gold Coast for an undisclosed sum in January 2018. Just a week prior, the group sold its $1.1-billion One Nine Elms project in London for $82 million to Guangzhou R&F Properties to fund its debt repayment. Now, Wanda operates and manages more than 60 hotels in China under its three brands.