by Cheryl-Anne Sturken | January 26, 2016

Singapore-based luxury hotel group FRHI Hotels & Resorts, which comprises the Fairmont, Raffles and Swissôtel brands, has launched a new lifestyle hotel brand, Neqta Hotels, for Chinese travelers. The brand's inaugural property opened in Shanghai's Xuhui District, close to the city's World Expo site. A second hotel is slated to open by year's end in Nanjing. Further details about the property, such as room count and guest services, are still to be announced.

According to FRHI, the upper-midscale brand is aimed at Millennial Chinese travelers and is the product of a joint venture with Jiangsu Golden Land Group, a real estate developer that already owns the Fairmont Nanjing in China. Modern amenities, contemporary design, and warm and efficient service will be hallmarks of the Neqta brand, including ergonomically designed and uncluttered guest rooms with comfortable beds, rainfall showerheads, large Bluetooth-enabled LED televisions, and free Wi-Fi and high-speed Internet. Business travelers also will enjoy a one-stop arrival service catering to their individual needs, and access to a selection of small meeting areas that will have the flexibility to be converted for different uses and occasions. Each hotel will have approximately 150 rooms.

"With domestic business travel on the rise and market research indicating Chinese consumer spending will more than double over the next five years, we see this as a remarkable opportunity to further grow our footprint in China," said Wayne Buckingham, FRHI's senior vice president of operations, Asia Pacific, and chairman of the new joint venture, in a statement announcing the new brand. "Guided by extensive research and our own customer insights, we have designed a contemporary hotel brand that will be highly attractive to both property developers and the Chinese consumer, in particular the business traveler in the 22 to 40 age demographic."

According to the Global Business Travel Association's most recent semiannual Business Travel Index Outlook, China represents about 20 percent of global business travel spending, and the country's overall travel spend is expected to grow by 10.7 percent in 2016. GBTA further expects China will become the world leader in business travel by mid-2016, and its business travel spend will increase by 61 percent from $262 billion in 2014 to $420 billion in 2019.

Neqta Hotels will be marketed separately from FRHI's collection of Fairmont, Raffles and Swissôtel brands. In December 2015, Paris-based AccorHotels announced it was acquiring FRHI for $840 million cash and 46.7 million new Accor shares.