[photopress:Ho_Kwon_Ping.jpg,full,alignright]Ho Kwon Ping, founder and executive chairman of the Banyan Tree chain of luxury hotels and resorts and seen looking very relaxed in our illustration, states that since its foundation in 1996, Banyan Tree has made a profit every year except 2005. Last year, Banyan Tree Holdings — which owns the 21 resorts, 58 spas and 68 ‘retail galleries’ — was floated in Singapore.
Ho Kwon Ping worked as a journalist on the Far Eastern Economic Review until 1981, when he joined to the family business, which he describes as a ‘typical mini overseas Chinese conglomerate’. He started Banyan Tree in 1996.
More than a decade on, Ho believes that the business is secure because the brand is strong, not just in Asia but across the world. He says a third of customers come from north Asia — Japan, Korea and China — a third from Europe and the US and a third from the rest of the world. The next big geographical push will be to expand its presence in China.
Ho says: ‘We are in the process of starting our own private equity fund. We are raising $500-700m from institutional investors that we would use to add to our existing hotels in China. The fund will be used to develop properties in China. Eventually the properties would have full management agreements with Banyan Tree.’
Source: The Observer