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Ascott to boost apartment openings in China, Japan and Thailand

Partners with local developers to double serviced-residence portfolio by 2023

An artist's rendering of Somerset Rama 9 Bangkok, the first of four properties that will open as part of Ascott’s alliance with Thailand's Ananda Development. (Courtesy of Ascott)

SINGAPORE -- Ascott, the serviced-apartment subsidiary of Singapore real estate company CapitaLand, has partnered with developers in China, Japan and Thailand to boost its brand in these markets.

Ascott will manage serviced residences to be developed and owned by China's Riverside Group, Japan's NTT Urban Development and Thailand's Ananda Development.

Under its "asset light" strategy, Singapore-based Ascott has been seeking ways to bolster the number of apartments it manages without making the large investments required to own properties. Partnering with developers is "one of the key strategies for growth," CEO Kevin Goh said Monday in a statement.

For property owners, who like the stable income that serviced residences in big cities provide, pulling in experienced players like Ascott to manage their properties is considered a safe bet. Ananda Development has four properties under development in central Bangkok that Ascott will manage when they open between 2020 and 2021. This is the listed developer's first foray into the serviced-residence sector.

NTT Urban Development, a subsidiary of telecom giant Nippon Telegraph and Telephone, agreed to cooperate with Ascott in the serviced-residence business in Japan, starting with projects in Fukuoka and Yokohama. The Tokyo-based company has been growing its hotel and resort business since 2015.

Riverside Group, meanwhile, is developing serviced residences in Zhejiang and Chongqing to be managed by Ascott. Ascott is the leading player in China, managing 118 properties across 33 cities including those under development.

Partnerships with established developers help provide "access to a variety of large-scale, quality projects to fast-track Ascott's expansion and broaden its reach to even more gateway cities," Goh said.

Ascott, one of the world's largest operators of serviced residences, has 76,000 apartments in its portfolio, including 32,000 units in the pipeline. The company aims to increase that to 80,000 units this year, and to 160,000 units by 2023. Goh said the company is "confident of achieving" those targets.

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