Actively Building Bridges and Strategically Positioning in the Middle East Market
SINGAPORE and SHANGHAI, Nov. 15, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — On November 8th, the China International Import Expo International Investment and Financial Cooperation Forum was held at the National Exhibition and Convention Center in Shanghai. The forum, centered around the theme of “Digital Empowerment for Innovative Growth, Building a New Landscape for International Investment and Financing Cooperation,” was attended by leaders from various Chinese government departments and relevant institutions, diplomatic representatives, foreign guests, domestic financial experts and scholars, overseas financial institution representatives, as well as representatives from the financial and economic sectors. During the event, H World Group Limited (“H World” or “the Group“, NASDAQ: HTHT, HKEX: 1179) subsidiary, the Joya Hotel Shanghai Gubei, proudly served as the official reception hotel for the Arab exhibition delegation. A dedicated reception team was promptly established to smoothly coordinate and facilitate the proceedings, providing tailored services in accordance with Arab reception etiquette and religious practices. Exclusive culinary offerings and customized dishes were prepared to cater to the diverse lifestyle needs of the guests, reflecting the commitment of Joya Hotel to uphold the elegance of Chinese traditions and high-quality brand philosophy of providing guests with refined living. Additionally, Murphy Zhu, President of Asia Pacific and the sole representative from the Chinese hotel industry, was invited to participate in the “International Investment Promotion and Investment China Closed-Door Dinner Party.” During the event, he delivered a keynote speech focusing on future cooperation with the Middle East region.
As one of the fastest-growing hotel groups globally, H World ranks sixth in terms of the number of hotel rooms, with a portfolio that encompasses 31 hotel and apartment brands across 18 countries as of September 30, 2023. The Group currently operates a total of 9,157 hotels with 885,756 rooms, and has successfully cultivated a membership base of over 200 million. With a strong focus on the Chinese market, H World has established a presence in over 1,000 cities nationwide, operating more than 9,000 hotels under 31 distinct brands. The Group is continuously exploring opportunities in lower-tier markets, expanding its hotel network. Simultaneously, H World actively pursues international expansion, presently operating 8 hotel brands across 3 continents, with 129 hotels in operation and 35 new hotels in preparation. This extensive hotel network and loyal membership base provide H World with the capability to capitalize on new market opportunities and fortify its brand chain.
Focusing on the Vast Market Potential in Saudi Arabia, H World Strategically Targets the Middle East for Expansion
Saudi Arabia possesses a robust hotel pipeline and holds significant market potential. The government’s “Vision 2030” initiative aims to foster a more dynamic, open, and modern business environment by introducing new industries such as entertainment and tourism, promoting investment regulations and societal reforms to drive economic diversification. Key catalysts for this expansion include the Public Investment Fund (PIF) and the Tourism Development Fund (TDF), with investment projects primarily concentrated in the Giga projects, the investment in major cities like Riyadh and Jeddah, as well as the Pilgrimage Cities: Makkah, Madinah. These initiatives are gradually extending to select secondary cities to enhance the appeal of tourism products, attract investment opportunities, and further develop and refine Saudi Arabia’s tourism ecosystem. The significant potential for market development, backed by local government financial support, aligns well with H World’s long-term development strategy in the Middle East. Capitalizing on this opportunity, H World is strategically directing its focus toward the Middle East market, continually enhancing its market share in overseas territories.
China and the Arab States Engage in Deep Cooperation, H World Enters the Middle East Market with Strong Capabilities
As the “Belt and Road” initiative and multilateral trade exchanges enter a phase of high-quality development, China continues to deepen its cooperation and exchanges with Arab states. Statistics indicate that total seat capacity from China to KSA in 2023 was 4.5 million, with a forecast to reach 6 million in 2025. This continuous increase in capacity is expected to drive further trade cooperation between China and the Arab states, fostering rapid development in the tourism industry for both parties. In July of this year, the Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region met with the Saudi Arabian Minister of Communications and Information Technology, witnessing the signing of the memorandum of understanding by 11 local companies to enter the Saudi market. As one of these enterprises, H World has longstanding roots in the Middle East, and the signing of the memorandum further enhances its resource network in the region, facilitating better connectivity to the Saudi market. This establishes an efficient and connected platform as H World continues to expand its global business footprint. Currently, H World operates 3 hotel brands in the Middle East, with 9 hotels already open in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries. China and Germany, as the main operating regions of the Group, are also the important source markets for Saudi Arabia and the Middle East, laying a solid foundation for H World to establish a foothold in the Middle East. In order to offer specialized, high-quality hotel services tailored to the local characteristics, H World has opened offices in Dubai and plans to establish a new office in Riyadh in 2024. The experienced team and rich operational expertise make local operations more manageable, fostering the strategic positioning of H World in the Middle East.
The ongoing close collaboration between China and the Middle East paves the way for H World to further expand its overseas presence. Leveraging the substantial market potential in the Middle East’s hotel accommodation industry, H World actively seizes market opportunities, relying on a seasoned management team, extensive operational experience, and a solid customer base to drive continued expansion in the Middle East. This contributes to H World’s share increasing in the global market, leading the way for China’s tourism and accommodation industry to explore and establish a positive development model in international markets.