Did you know? OYO’s Ritesh Agarwal has a Chinese name

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Did you know? OYO’s Ritesh Agarwal has a Chinese name
Ritesh Agarwal, founder, OYOBCCL
  • Ritesh Agarwal made OYO, China’s largest hotel chain and he did so by operating OYO as a Chinese company.
  • Agarwal picked up Mandarin – which is called as one of the world’s toughest languages within a few months.
  • OYO is present in over 337 cities and has 500,000 rooms in China. In FY19, OYO China contributed to $307 million or 32.3% of OYO’s global revenue.
The Indian owner of China's largest chain of hotels, OYO, is not known as Ritesh Agarwal, but as Li Tai Xi in the country.

As in India, OYO's problems in China go beyond coronavirus, It has been subject to rising complaints from hoteliers about delayed payments, but not being able to speak the local language is not one of them.

According to OYO, Agarwal has picked up Mandarin – which is called as one of the world’s toughest languages⁠— within a few months and he now conducts all the conversations with asset partners, employees and guests in the local language.

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“OYO Hotels in China is run as a local Chinese business and since day one that was the thought which fueled our operations in the country. We believe that our secret to success in China is the way we have built our business in the country, we had zero preconceived notions and started with a clean slate. We didn’t approach the market like a global start-up setting shop in China but like a Chinese player building quality living spaces,” Agarwal told Business Insider.

Agarwal added that most foreign companies look at recruiting bilingual management teams in a different country, but OYO didn’t do so in China. “We didn't make that a criterion because a Chinese company operating in the country wouldn't have that constraint and if we had that constraint, we would narrow our talent pool,” he said.

OYO opened its doors in China in 2017 and since then has established a name in the world’s second largest economy.

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OYO is present in over 337 cities and has 500,000 rooms in China. In FY19, OYO China contributed to $307 million or 32.3% of OYO’s global revenue.

As the coronavirus pandemic began in Wuhan, China, OYO – the largest hospitality chain – had to close the doors on its hotels, as business came to a halt and many of its employees too were infected. While 70% of OYO hotels in China are now operational, it plans to open the remaining hotels in the next 30 to 45 days, the company told Business Insider.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, globally its revenues have fallen by 50-60%. The hospitality unicorn which had laid off thousands of employees in January and had readjusted its vision to focus on profitability, had to put scores of employees on furloughs in India and US, while letting go of hundreds in China.

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