Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide will expand its business in China with the opening of 20 new hotels in the country in 2013.
Having opened its first international hotel, Sheraton Great Wall Beijing, in China in 1985, the company currently has a portfolio of 120 hotels in the region and another 100 in the pipeline.
China is currently the second largest hotel market for the company after the US.
In 2012, Starwood opened 25 hotels and signed 36 new deals in China, making it the fastest growing traveller market for the company.
To further expand its business in China, the company is eyeing second and third tier cities as its key growth markets.
For second tier cities, Starwood will continue to focus on its upscale Sheraton, Westin and Le Meridien brands, whereas Starwood’s Four Points by Sheraton and Aloft brands will be used for the newly developed cities that are in the early stages of urbanisation.
The company, which has recently opened W Guangzhou, will increase its luxury hotel brand W Hotels’ portfolio in China through upcoming hotels in Beijing, Shanghai, Suzhou, Changsha and Chengdu.
Starwood will also open new hotels under its St Regis brand in Changsha, Chengdu, Lijiang, Qingshui Bay, Zhuhai and Nanjing, while hotels under the Luxury Collection brand will be opened in Dalian, Hangzhou, Nanning, Xiamen, Nanjing and Suzhou regions.
Starwood president and CEO Frits van Paasschen said that the company will open one new hotel in China every 20 days, and that 70% of its new hotel construction and development pipeline is in second and third tier cities.
"We continue to view China as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for our business," van Paasschen added.
"Whether it’s growing our hotel footprint as part of the country’s massive infrastructure development, or aggressively building our loyalty programme in the world’s fastest growing domestic and outbound travel market, we are focused on taking every advantage of our important first-mover position in China."