Logo - Sheraton blueSheraton, not always the sexiest of brands, is suddenly a growth story, hitting 100 hotels in Asia Pacific with the opening of Sheraton Shantou Hotel, and aiming for 500 branded properties globally by 2016.

This rapid brand expansion is being fuelled, of course, by China.

“Sheraton Hotels in China will account for nearly one third of the new hotels opening this year in Asia Pacific, but we are also picking up momentum in many other countries across the region such as India, Thailand and South Korea,” said the company is a press release.

Sheraton Shantou Hotel is one of nearly 30 new Sheratons in AP this year.

There’s “tremendous demand for high-calibre lodging generated by the rising middle class,” said Hoyt Harper, Global Brand Leader, Sheraton Hotels & Resorts.

And that’s the market his brand is directly targetting.

Owners are clearly coming on board and the result is aggressive growth, with plenty more on the agenda.

At last count there were more than 50 properties in Sheraton’s AP development pipeline, making it the company’s second-largest and fastest growing global market.

China is a huge part of the growth story.

Sheraton says it was the first global hotel operator to enter China in 1985 with Sheraton Great Wall and is currently the country’s largest international brand with 60 hotels and 40 more in the pipeline.

Its development focus is now on second and third-tiered cities such as Shantou.

“Boasting more than 170 cities with populations of over one million, China continues to represent immense potential.”

Located on the eastern coast of Guangdong province, Shantou is a prefecture-level city with a population of over five million. It is also a strategic seaport and one of China’s Five Special Economic Zones.

Sheraton Shantou Hotel is owned by the Logan Group.

“Today we are proud to have partnered with Starwood Hotels & Resorts on this outstanding property, the Sheraton Shantou Hotel, as we pay tribute to our hometown.

“We hope that with this dynamic partnership, we will be able to contribute to the economic and urban development of Shantou,” said Mr. Ji Hai Peng, President of Logan Group.

Other recent openings include Sheraton Shenyang South City Hotel in China and Sheraton Hua Hin Pranburi Villas in Thailand.

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