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BIZ BUZZ: First foreign foray

/ 05:14 AM July 01, 2022

A few years ago, billionaire businessman Edgar “Injap” Sia II took his family to snowy Sapporo, the winter capital of Japan, for the New Year’s holiday.

Well, the place must have made an impression on him because the co-founder of DoubleDragon Corp. chose the swanky winter resort of Niseko—which is near Sapporo—as the first international location for his Hotel 101 franchise.

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More importantly, not only will this venture be Hotel 101’s first foray overseas, it will also be the first international location for a homegrown hotel brand.

According to Sia, DoubleDragon’s subsidiaries recently paid the deposit—prescribed in the sales contract that was signed yesterday—for a prime 9,000-square-meter land in Hokkaido Prefecture, Japan, on which will rise the first international Hotel 101 development.

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The upcoming Hotel 101-Niseko is expected to be patronized by local domestic travelers in Japan, and foreign tourists from other countries, as well as Filipino travelers who visit Hokkaido for leisure.

The site is accessible for Filipino travelers via just a few hours of flight from Manila to Sapporo’s Chitose airport.

Niseko is famous worldwide for its fine powdery snow.

“Kutchan, where the property is located, is one of the foremost areas of heavy snowfall reaching 13 meters on average with some of the driest and lightest snow in the world,” the company said.

Because of its northern location, Niseko is internationally renowned for consistently delivering good falls of light powder snow and a long ski season that stretches from late November until early May.

Hokkaido is the northmost island of Japan. During the summer Hokkaido stays cool with average temperatures of about 20 degrees celsius and is famous for its stunning nature scenes, panoramic flower fields and hot springs.

As far as the hotel itself is concerned, its rooms are intended to be similar in size and look catering to the mid-market, “enabling a highly efficient booking process allowing guests to know exactly what to expect in a Hotel 101 wherever it may be located,” the firm said.

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So where else will Hotel 101 expand after this? Watch where Sia goes for his holidays.

—Daxim L. Lucas

Missing Okada millions?

Did Okada Manila’s new management—which physically took over the premises in a blitzkrieg move early last month—take liberties with the company’s funds soon after ejecting the previous set of board directors?

That’s what the deposed board is alleging, saying the group of the resort’s founder, Kazuo Okada, made “unauthorized disbursements” to a company called Transasia Construction Development Corp.

A document seen by Biz Buzz shows that the board of the casino resort hotel unanimously approved the payment of P4.9 billion to Transasia Construction, discounted to P2 billion as “settlement.”

The board also approved the plan for the Okada Manila to immediately pay Transasia Construction the amount of P500 million from the firm’s funds.

Payment for what? The secretary’s certificate didn’t say. But the opposing camp says it’s not true that Okada Manila owes Transasia anything. In fact, the deposed board says Transasia that owes the casino hotel P9 billion in overpayments, contra charges and financial loses. Ouch.

Biz Buzz reached out to the present management of Okada Manila which condemned “the continued attempts to discredit and malign the reputation of its current and legitimate board with the false allegations and fake news made by its rival group.”

Okada Manila believes that the sole purpose of these allegations is to disrupt the firm’s operations.

“Okada Manila maintains that there is no proof that such a P2 billion payment was made” to Transasia Construction.

As for the P9 billion in overpayments, they said it’s the previous board which should be blamed for negligence.

So who’s telling the truth in this highly charged dispute? We hear this fight will come to a head in a few days. In the meantime, abangan!

—Daxim L. Lucas

Hello and goodbye

With his appointment as the next transportation secretary, former Philippine Airlines president Jaime Bautista has left the corporate world.

Effective June 29, Bautista is no longer serving as an independent director of Belle Corp. and Premium Leisure Corp. He accepted the government post just last week.

Outgoing transportation chief Arthur Tugade privately met Bautista at the government agency’s office in Clark, Pampanga, to talk about the ongoing projects. They were joined by other transport officials.

Tugade threw his support behind the incoming transportation secretary, who is expected to continue the infrastructure projects of the Duterte administration.

“As we step down from office, I implore you to give the same, if not more than, amount of support and trust to the next administration. Incoming Transportation Secretary Jimmy Bautista has my full support as he committed to study and continue the big-ticket projects and policies of the [Transportation department],” Tugade said.

“I would also like to reiterate that we shall extend the needed help and support we can give to the new administration, for their success is the success of the Filipino people,” he added.

Apart from the infrastructure projects, Bautista is expected to deal with what appears to be the most immediate concern now: the exodus of public transport workers due to surging fuel prices.

How will Bautista handle this transport crisis? Let’s find out!

—Tyrone Jasper C. Piad

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TAGS: Biz Buzz, DoubleDragon Corp., Edgar “Injap” Sia II, Okada Manila, Philippine Airlines
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