Serviced residence company The Ascott Limited has added seven properties in six cities in China to its portfolio, bringing its total number of properties in the country to more than 100.

The new serviced residences will see Ascott’s number of apartments in China rise by more than 1,300 and will mark the company’s debut in Kunming, Yunnan province and Yichang, Hubei province.

Six of the serviced residences are new-build properties scheduled to open by 2019. First to open will be the Ascott Yulian Plaza Dalian, Citadines Gaoke Liangjiang Chongqing, Citadines Three Gorges Yichang and Somerset Q Plex Shenzhen, which are slated to open their doors next year.

These will be followed by the Citadines Dianchi Time Plaza Kunming and Tukia Somerset Yunlong Lake Xuzhou in 2019. Tujia Somerset Garden City Chongqing, meanwhile, is already in operation.

“China remains Ascott’s biggest market and we are excited to be surpassing our 100th property milestone in China this year,” said Lee Chee Koon, Ascott’s CEO. “Chinese are amongst Ascott’s top customers at our properties globally with revenue surging by 35 per cent year-on-year.

“Awareness of Ascott has also grown significantly in China. In 2016, about 62 per cent of our guests in China were Chinese. With close to 19,000 units in 104 properties across 29 Chinese cities, Ascott will achieve our target of 20,000 units in China well ahead of 2020.”

The company is making significant steps to expand its presence in the country. Last month, it confirmed three new locations for its recently launched lifestyle brand, Lyf (pronounced “life), with two of these being located in China. Meanwhile in January, the company added six new properties in six Chinese cities to its portfolio, as part of its aim to open more than 30 properties globally this year.

As well as opening properties within China, Ascott is also looking to tap into the growing outbound travel market the country offers. To date it has listed some 15,000 serviced apartments across its portfolio on online travel service platform Fliggy, owned by Chinese e-commerce retailer Alibaba.

“China’s rising incomes are driving domestic travel and making it the world’s biggest outbound travel market. Besides boosting our number of properties in China, Ascott is sharpening our competitive edge by having a stronger online presence. We now have one of the largest serviced apartment listings on Fliggy, which has more than 200 million users. Our penetration of the Chinese market both offline and online is already contributing to Ascott’s business worldwide,” Lee added.

Ascott is currently eyeing a target of 80,000 units globally by 2020.