Spring Group to launch chain of ho­tels in Ja­pan

China Daily (Canada) - - LIFE - ByWANG YING in Shang­hai wang_y­ing@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Spring Group, the par­ent com­pany of Shang­hai-based Spring Air­lines Co Ltd, is launch­ing a new ho­tel brand in Ja­pan in as­so­ci­a­tion with a lo­cal part­ner, mark­ing its first en­try into the over­seas ho­tels sec­tor.

The new brand, SpringSunny Ho­tel, is a joint ven­ture be­tween the group’s Shang­hai Spring In­vest­ment Man­age­ment Co Ltd and Ja­pan’s Sun Fron­tier Fu­dou­san Co Ltd, a Tokyo-listed prop­erty ser­vice provider.

Over the next three to five years, the two sides plan to in­vest more than 20 bil­lion yen ($166 mil­lion) ex­pand­ing the new brand in Ja­pan’s ma­jor tourism hotspots.

Wang Zhenghua, founder and chair­man of the Shang­hai-based bud­get air­line op­er­a­tor, said the idea to open ho­tels was first sparked last year, when the air­line launched di­rect flights from some Chi­nese ci­ties to Osaka, Ja­pan.

Pas­sen­ger feed­back showed many cus­tomers were sur­prised to find a lack of ho­tel rooms in the city, said Wang.

Lu Ronghua, gen­eral man­ager of Shang­hai Spring In­vest­ment Man­age­ment, said the new brand’s de­signs will aim to com­bine dif­fer­ent Asian tastes.

Ini­tially, a batch of 15-20 SpringSunny ho­tels is planned, said Lu.

He Jian­min, a pro­fes­sor at the Shang­hai Univer­sity of Fi­nance and Eco­nom­ics, who spe­cial­izes in tourism man­age­ment, said Spring’s de­ci­sion to en­ter the ho­tel sec­tor was very much in line with the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment’s call for more do­mes­tic firms to ex­pand abroad.

“It is a smart move to fol­low in the foot­steps of Chi­nese trav­el­ers, by set­ting up ho­tels or travel agen­cies which will give them a wel­come feel­ing of home, while at the same time, feed some busi­ness back to China,” he said, adding this is al­ready a com­mon travel-industry model in the United States.

“The de­vel­op­ment of Spring Group pro­vides a good ex­am­ple of in­dus­trial chain de­vel­op­ment.”

Started as a do­mes­tic travel agency in the early 1980s, Spring Group has con­tin­ued to ex­plore new travel-re­lated pos­si­bil­i­ties, al­ways linked di­rectly to pro­vid­ing its cus­tomers with a more com­plete travel ex­pe­ri­ence.

It first launched di­rect flights to Ja­pan five years ago, and set up an avi­a­tion com­pany in Ja­pan in 2012. In 2014, it started to of­fer do­mes­tic flights in Ja­pan.

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