Hotels around the world are feeling China's capital controls, Hyatt CEO says

Key Points
  • China's crackdown on outbound capital has seen corporates' global shopping spree slow in the past year
  • The flow of Chinese capital has declined in certain markets, including in the hunt for trophy assets in the hospitality sector, Hyatt Hotels CEO Mark Hoplamazian said
  • Despite that, the Hyatt CEO maintained that the market for hotel assets remained healthy
This hotel CEO says interest by Chinese capital in 'trophy assets' has waned

China's crackdown on outbound capital has slowed the global shopping spree undertaken by mainland companies and one big sector that's seen an impact is the hotel industry.

"It is true that there has been a decline in Chinese capital, especially in certain markets and certain types of assets, like trophy assets," Mark Hoplamazian, president and CEO of Hyatt Hotels told CNBC on the sidelines of the Fortune Global Forum in Guangzhou, China.

Hyatt has adopted an asset-light strategy of late, moving into franchise management and selling down real estate holdings. The company has plans to sell some $1.5 billion in hotel assets in the next three years, according to travel industry site Skift.

When asked whether the absence of Chinese buyers was potentially suppressing the value of hotels Hyatt might want to sell, Hoplamazian said the market remained "buoyant and actually, healthy" due to the interest rate environment.

"My expectation is that the fact that there's been a change in the incidence of investment outside of China for Chinese companies will probably have an impact on selected assets and selected markets, but I don't think it'll have a broader impact than that," he added.

While Chinese companies have snapped up multiple hotel assets in recent years, a firmer yuan this year and tighter regulations have had an impact on capital moving out of the country.

Limits on overseas investments implemented by authorities came after several high-profile acquisitions by Chinese corporates in recent years. Anbang Insurance Group, a holding company that was among the most acquisitive in China, bought the iconic Waldorf Astoria hotel in New York for $2 billion in 2014. It also bought Strategic Hotels & Resorts for a reported $5.5 billion.

Conglomerate HNA Group, meanwhile, bought a 25 percent stake in Hilton Worldwide Holdings worth $6.5 billion from Blackstone Group. The Hainan-based company also acquired Carlson Hotels in 2016 and has a stake in Spanish hotel chain NH Hotel Group.