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SHANGHAI (Reuters) - InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG.L) (IHG.L) has signed 12 contracts for its new China hotel brand with the first opening of the new brand expected in late 2012 or early 2013, its China head said on Tuesday.
IHG also intends to expand the China branded hotel overseas in 2-3 years to cater to Chinese tourists abroad, said Keith Barr, IHG's chief executive for the Greater China region.
Most of the contracts signed will be in tier 2 and tier 3 cities as well as in Shanghai and Beijing, Barr told reporters in Shanghai.
The move to expand the Chinese hotel brand overseas is aimed at attracting the large number of Chinese tourists who will travel worldwide as disposable income rises, he said.
"(The brand) is rooted in deep consumer insights in China and as probably about 100 million outbound Chinese travel in the near future," he said.
"We will see this moving to key gateway cities across Asia and globally to meet their consumer needs."
Barr said the brand will cater to the taste of the Chinese consumer, from the type of social settings they enjoy to how VIPs and government officials like to be greeted.
Earlier in the year, IHG signed a management deal with China's Poly Real Estate Group Co Ltd (600048.SS) to cooperate on developing and managing hotels in China.
IHG has said that one in four of the hotel rooms it opens over the next five years will be in China, highlighting the market's importance to the company. The firm has 154 hotels in China with about 140 more in the pipeline.
Reporting by Melanie Lee; Editing by Jacqueline Wong and Ken Wills