Barry Sternlicht's Starwood Capital entered a strategic relationship with Shanghai Jin Jiang International Hotels, one of China's largest hotel operators.

Starwood Capital will make a $30 million strategic investment in Jin Jiang, making Starwood the largest outside-shareholder in the company. Starwood Capital and Jin Jiang will work together to develop and strengthen each other's hotel business, mainly in China, and will cooperate on hotel business projects.

"Starwood Capital is very excited about the potential for Jin Jiang in China and abroad, and for our future partnership together," said Sternlicht, who built the Starwood ( HOT) hotel chain into a juggernaut before stepping aside last year. Starwood Capital isn't related to the publicly traded company.

"Jin Jiang's geographic reach and portfolio of owned assets across all hotel categories leaves it uniquely positioned to benefit from the explosive growth in the Chinese hotel industry, fueled by rapidly expanding tourism and business travel," Sternlicht said. "By combining Jin Jiang's portfolio, which features irreplaceable hotels in Shanghai and other major Chinese cities, with our track record of creating global brands and enhancing asset value in both the luxury and budget categories, the partnership has the potential to create significant value for both companies going forward."

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