Jin Jiang International, the leading Chinese hotel operator, is a Shanghai-based conglomerate specializing in hotels, restaurants, logistics, travel and transportation. Its particularly rapid growth and major buyout operations, including Plateno and Louvre Hotels, have made it the fifth largest hotel group in the world. It is also one of the most dynamic.
Founded in 1995, Jin Jiang International operates nearly 6,000 hotels in over sixty countries under the brands J. Hotel, Jin Jiang, Metropolo, Jin Jiang Inn and the brands Plateno, Louvre Hotels and Vienna Hotels Group acquired through large-scale buyback transactions.
Announced in 2014 and finalized in March 2015, the acquisition of the French group Louvre Hotels for 1.3 billion euros (which also included the acquisition of Baccarat crystal and Annick Goutal perfumes) allowed the Chinese operator to add Tulip Inn, Golden Tulip and Royal Tulip to its portfolio, while making it the leading Chinese operator with a strong international presence, notably in Europe (where Jin Jiang ranks 5th with nearly 70,000 rooms) and in Southeast Asia.
Louvre Hotels is a hotel group founded in France in 1976 by the Taittinger family (of the eponymous champagne house) with the opening of the first Campanile hotel. After the launch of the economy chain Première Classe in 1989, in 1990 the company became the Envergure Group, the economy branch of the Taittinger empire. In the following decade, they added new brands to their portfolio (Clarine, Nuit d'Hôtel) before merging with the French group Hotels & Compagnie (Climat de France, Balladins, Tradition de France, Nuit d'Hôtel). The repositioning of the Climat de France and Clarine chains that followed gave birth to the Kyriad brand in 2001, while Balladins left the group's portfolio. In 2004, the two hotels, Envergure (economy) and Concorde Hotels & Resorts (high-end & luxury) were combined under the Louvre Group banner and were sold in 2005 to the US investment fund Starwood Capital. The latter gradually sold the prestigious real estate assets while the group, refocused on the economy segment under the name Louvre Hotels, acquired the Dutch brand Golden Tulip in 2009 which then consisted of nearly 26,000 rooms. The entire package was then bought by Jin Jiang in 2015.
Jin Jiang further extended its reach that same year with the acquisition of its Chinese rival Plateno Hotel Group. Buying 81% of its shares set Jin Jiang back 8.3 billion yuan (nearly 1.3 billion dollars) before finalizing the acquisition. A few months later it reached even further when it increased its holdings in the capital of another Chinese group, Vienna Hotels Group, by 80% with an investment of RMB 1.8 billion ($ 290 million), finalizing the acquisition.
These acquisitions are the result of the acceleration of Chinese group’s international development, which until then had only opted to make marketing alliances with foreign operators such as Melia International. They also propelled it to fifth place in the world ranking of hotel groups, only two decades after its creation.
The rapid rise of the group does not stop there: in 2016, it broke into the capital of AccorHotels Group, crossing the threshold of 15% of shares held. In parallel, the first Campanile hotel opened in China, followed in Shanghai by the new Golden Tulip concept. The Group’s organic growth remains strong, particularly on its domestic market, which continues to acquire brands with international standards. In terms of acquisitions, this hiatus is likely to be short-lived given the stated ambitions, as evidenced by the recent takeover of the Indian brand Samovar (2017).