Chinese investment in Australian hotels to soar

Daisy Melwani

More than 60% of major hotel deals in Australia this year could be tied up with Chinese investors.

The news comes following findings from the latest Colliers International Hotel Report, which indicates capital flow from China will be larger than that received by Japanese or Singaporean investors.

According to the firm, capital flow from China could also come from institutions with little or no hotel investment portfolios to join the sector, which could boost the number of visitors from China to Australia, according to a Yahoo news report.

Colliers’ findings report China to be Australia’s second biggest inbound market following New Zealand and the most lucrative in money spent per visitor.

The declining Australian dollar means exchange rates are favourable overseas markets, leading to greater appeal to invest in sectors such as Australian hotels for cashed-up Asian investors.

According to Sourceable, Chinese buyers comprised over a quarter of demand for Australian hotels in 2014, accounting for 28% of the total market share.

Queensland is expected to fare well by Chinese investors due to its climate and popularity among mainland tourists, the report stated.

The sale of Sydney’s Sheraton on the Park to China’s Sunshine Insurance for $463 million late 2014 marked the largest single-asset hotel transaction in Australia’s history, sourceable reports.

Other major hotel transactions last year included the sale of Melbourne’s Park Hyatt to Hong Kong’s Fu Wah International Group and the $202.7 million sale of the Sofitel Wentworth Hotel in Sydney to Singapore’s Frasers property group.

Aside from mainland China, other major sources of foreign investment into the Australian hotel sector include Hong Kong and Singapore.

Notably, Japan and the USA have been absent from market activity in recent years.

Meanwhile, the figures show domestic investment has risen as well, up from 22% in 2013 to 46% in 2014.