[photopress:hotels_ski_china3_1.jpg,full,alignright]Vancouver-based Melco China Resorts is perhaps the first serious bid to transform the Chinese ski industry. It has raised more than $100 million, and will use most of that this year to dramatically upgrade five ski resorts it already owns across northern China.
Graham Kwan, who was in at the beginning of the project, made a relationship with Melco International, a Hong Kong-listed company headed by Lawrence Ho.
Lawrence Ho is investing $40 million into MCR. And it will have on tap another $70 million via a private placement led by Canaccord Capital and CIBC World Markets.
Although much of the expertise is coming from Canada MCR’s business model is strictly made for China.
[photopress:hotels_ski_china2_1_2.jpg,full,alignleft]Graham Kawan said, ‘It made all the sense in the world to list on the TSX (in Canada) because a lot of people already understood the story of fantastic Canadian hospitality companies, whether you are an analyst or an institutional investor. But that story is just a starting point. What we are doing in China may have started with what Intrawest did here, but our business model is entirely different.’
The ski resorts in China will be gated. Graham Kwan said, ‘They will truly be like a theme park. When you come in, we run everything — the restaurants, the retail, the hotels — like at Disney or on a cruise line.’
One resort actually includes an entire train station. Rail passengers get off right inside Yabuli Sun Mountain resort near the northeastern city of Harbin.
Source: Vancouver Sun