Asian Hoteliers Find Room In The West

Well-heeled investors are looking to build global chains-and run them themselves

After 30 years of helping build up one of Asia's richest property empires, Payson Cha Mou Sing is still studying new businesses. The 52-year-old managing director of Hong Kong-based HKR International Ltd., part of a family empire with some $1 billion in cash, has taken charge of nine luxury hotels in the U.S., Europe, and Asia that HKR has purchased since 1993. With Asian real estate trading at bubble prices everywhere from Singapore to Shanghai, the West is looking cheap to developers such as HKR. Richer and more aggressive than the Asians who got burned during property binges in the 1980s, the investors are approaching foreign markets much more strategically. "I want to know exactly what we're getting into," says Cha.

To continue reading this article you must be a Bloomberg Professional Service Subscriber.