China: The Ruby Group has announced the first Ruby hotel in Asia, which is set to open at the end of the year in Shanghai.
The 150-room hotel will be located in the Hongqiao neighborhood, near Shanghai’s city centre airport. The interior design of the Hongqiao hotel will celebrate the style of Shanghai in the 1920s, and its booming silent film scene. The project came to fruition as the result of the conversion and expansion of a former office building. Its opening is planned for the end of this year.
Michael Struck, founder and CEO of Ruby Hotels, said: “After announcing our first hotel development in London earlier this year, the establishment of Ruby Asia and the development of a hotel in Shanghai marks the next milestone for the international expansion of the Ruby brand.”
Ruby Asia is a joint venture between Ruby Hotels & Resorts GmbH, based in Munich, Germany, and the Betterwood Group, with its headquarters in Hong Kong. The Betterwood Group is primarily owned by Wisdom Sail (HK) Ltd. (Hong Kong), a US$310 million investment holding company that is managed by Ocean Link (Shanghai). Some of China’s best known hospitality companies and individuals in the hospitality industry are affiliated with Ocean Link, including Alex Zheng, the founder and chairman of Plateno Hotel, one of the biggest hotel groups in China. Other investors in this fund include Ctrip; General Atlantic, a global private equity investor that is behind companies such as Uber and AirBnB; and Temasek, the investment arm of the government of Singapore.
Alex Zheng “discovered” Ruby with the help of the German consultancy Hotour, which was commissioned with the task of finding promising European brands. In the summer of 2016, it was jointly decided to launch the Ruby brand in Asia with Alex Zheng and his partners. The goal is to establish Ruby as one of the first brands in Asia in the affordable luxury segment, as well as to appeal with individual hotels to the high-growth postmodern milieus, particularly the high-growth Chinese millennials. With the goal of establishing a close partnership in every way, the model of mutual equity shareholding was chosen: Ocean Link – specifically its investment holding company Wisdom Sail – with a 20 per cent share of Ruby, and Ruby with a 20 per cent share of the Asian license holder.
The joint venture will be led by an experienced six-person management team, including Huasheng Li, the president of the Betterwood Hotel Group Co., Ltd. and Angela Wong, CEO of Ruby Asia.