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UNITED STATES SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

Washington, D.C. 20549

FORM 20-F

(Mark One)

          REGISTRATION STATEMENT PURSUANT TO SECTION 12(b) OR (g) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

OR

          ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2021

OR

          TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

For the transition period from to

OR

          SHELL COMPANY REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

Date of event requiring this shell company report

Commission file number: 001-34656

Huazhu Group Limited

(Exact name of Registrant as specified in its charter)

Not Applicable

(Translation of Registrant’s name into English)

CAYMAN ISLANDS

(Jurisdiction of incorporation or organization)

No. 699 Wuzhong Road

Minhang District

Shanghai 201103

People’s Republic of China

+86 (21) 6195-2011

(Address of principal executive offices)

Hui Chen

Chief Financial Officer

Telephone: +86 (21) 6195-2011

E-mail: cj-chenhui@huazhu.com

No. 699 Wuzhong Road

Minhang District

Shanghai 201103

People’s Republic of China

(Name, Telephone, E-mail and/or Facsimile number and Address of Company Contact Person)

Securities registered or to be registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:

Title of Each Class

    

Trading Symbol(s)

    

Name of Each Exchange on Which Registered

Ordinary Shares, par value US$0.00001 per share

1179

The Stock Exchange of Hong Kong Limited

American Depositary Shares, each representing

ten ordinary shares

HTHT

NASDAQ Global Select Market

Securities registered or to be registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act: None

Securities for which there is a reporting obligation pursuant to Section 15(d) of the Act: None

Indicate the number of outstanding shares of each of the issuer’s classes of capital or common stock as of the close of the period covered by the annual report. 3,224,997,210 Ordinary Shares.

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act.

Yes      No

If this report is an annual or transition report, indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.

Yes      No

Note – Checking the box above will not relieve any registrant required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 from their obligations under those Sections

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days.

Yes      No

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files).

Yes      No

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.

Large accelerated filer                Accelerated filer                Non-accelerated filer 

Emerging growth company

If an emerging growth company that prepares its financial statements in accordance with U.S. GAAP, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards† provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act. ¨

† The term “new or revised financial accounting standard” refers to any update issued by the Financial Accounting Standards Board to its Accounting Standards Codification after April 5, 2012.

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed a report on and attestation to its management’s assessment of the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (15 U.S.C. 7262(b)) by the registered public accounting firm that prepared or issued its audit report.

Indicate by check mark which basis of accounting the registrant has used to prepare the financial statements included in this filing:

            U.S. GAAP

            International Financial Reporting Standards as issued by the International Accounting Standards Board

            Other

If “Other” has been checked in response to the previous question, indicate by check mark which financial statement item the registrant has elected to follow.

Item 17                  Item 18

If this is an annual report, indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act).

Yes      No

(APPLICABLE ONLY TO ISSUERS INVOLVED IN BANKRUPTCY PROCEEDINGS DURING THE PAST FIVE YEARS)

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed all documents and reports required to be filed by Section 12, 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 subsequent to the distribution of securities under a plan confirmed by a court.

Yes      No

TABLE OF CONTENTS

    

Page

CERTAIN CONVENTIONS

1

PART I

4

ITEM 1. IDENTITY OF DIRECTORS, SENIOR MANAGEMENT AND ADVISERS

4

ITEM 2. OFFER STATISTICS AND EXPECTED TIMETABLE

4

ITEM 3. KEY INFORMATION

4

3.A. Selected Financial Data

7

3.B. Capitalization and Indebtedness

7

3.C. Reason for the Offer and Use of Proceeds

8

3.D. Risk Factors

8

ITEM 4. INFORMATION ON THE COMPANY

48

4.A. History and Development of the Company

48

4.B. Business Overview

49

4.C. Organizational Structure

80

4.D. Property, Plants and Equipment

81

ITEM 4A. UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS

81

ITEM 5. OPERATING AND FINANCIAL REVIEW AND PROSPECTS

82

5.A. Operating Results

82

5.B. Liquidity and Capital Resources

100

5.C. Research and Development, Patents and Licenses, etc.

103

5.D. Trend Information

104

5.E. Critical Accounting Policies and Estimates

104

ITEM 6. DIRECTORS, SENIOR MANAGEMENT AND EMPLOYEES

105

6.A. Directors and Senior Management

105

6.B. Compensation

108

6.C. Board Practices

111

6.D. Employees

113

6.E. Share Ownership

113

ITEM 7. MAJOR SHAREHOLDERS AND RELATED PARTY TRANSACTIONS

114

7.A. Major Shareholders

114

7.B. Related Party Transactions

115

7.C. Interests of Experts and Counsel

116

ITEM 8. FINANCIAL INFORMATION

116

8.A. Consolidated Statements and Other Financial Information

116

8.B. Significant Changes

118

ITEM 9. THE OFFER AND LISTING

118

9.A. Offering and Listing Details

118

9.B. Plan of Distribution

118

9.C. Markets

118

9.D. Selling Shareholders

118

9.E. Dilution

118

9.F. Expenses of the Issue

118

ITEM 10. ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

118

10.A. Share Capital

118

10.B. Memorandum and Articles of Association

118

10.C. Material Contracts

119

i

10.D. Exchange Controls

    

119

10.E. Taxation

119

10.F. Dividends and Paying Agents

128

10.G. Statement by Experts

128

10.H. Documents on Display

128

10.I. Subsidiary Information

128

ITEM 11. QUANTITATIVE AND QUALITATIVE DISCLOSURES ABOUT MARKET RISK

128

ITEM 12. DESCRIPTION OF SECURITIES OTHER THAN EQUITY SECURITIES

129

12.A. Debt Securities

129

12.B. Warrants and Rights

129

12.C. Other Securities

129

12.D. American Depositary Shares

129

PART II

134

ITEM 13. DEFAULTS, DIVIDEND ARREARAGES AND DELINQUENCIES

134

ITEM 14. MATERIAL MODIFICATIONS TO THE RIGHTS OF SECURITY HOLDERS AND USE OF PROCEEDS

134

ITEM 15. CONTROLS AND PROCEDURES

134

ITEM 16A. AUDIT COMMITTEE FINANCIAL EXPERT

135

ITEM 16B. CODE OF ETHICS

135

ITEM 16C. PRINCIPAL ACCOUNTANT FEES AND SERVICES

135

ITEM 16D. EXEMPTIONS FROM THE LISTING STANDARDS FOR AUDIT COMMITTEES

136

ITEM 16E. PURCHASES OF EQUITY SECURITIES BY THE ISSUER AND AFFILIATED PURCHASERS

136

ITEM 16F. CHANGE IN REGISTRANT’S CERTIFYING ACCOUNTANT

137

ITEM 16G. CORPORATE GOVERNANCE

137

ITEM 16H. MINE SAFETY DISCLOSURE

139

ITEM 16I. DISCLOSURE REGARDING FOREIGN JURISDICTIONS THAT PREVENT INSPECTIONS

139

PART III

139

ITEM 17. FINANCIAL STATEMENTS

139

ITEM 18. FINANCIAL STATEMENTS

139

ITEM 19. EXHIBITS

139

ii

CERTAIN CONVENTIONS

Unless otherwise indicated, all translations from U.S. dollars to RMB in this annual report were made at a rate of US$1.00 to RMB6.3726, the exchange rate as set forth in the H.10 statistical release of the U.S. Federal Reserve Board on December 30, 2021. No representation is made that the RMB amounts referred to herein could have been or could be converted into U.S. dollars at any particular rate or at all. On April 22, 2022, the exchange rate was US$1.00 to RMB6.5010. Any discrepancies in any table between totals and sums of the amounts listed are due to rounding.

Unless otherwise indicated, in this annual report,

ADRs” are to the American depositary receipts that may evidence our ADSs;
ADSs” are to our American depositary shares, each representing ten ordinary shares;
China” or the “PRC” are to the People’s Republic of China, excluding, for purposes of this annual report, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan;
Deutsche Hospitality or legacy DH” refers to Steigenberger Hotels Aktiengesellschaft, a company established under the laws of Germany on September 12, 1985, a subsidiary of our company, and its subsidiaries;
EUR” and “Euro” refers to the legal currency of European Union;
HKD” refers to the legal currency of Hong Kong;
Hong Kong or “HK” refers to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the PRC;
Hong Kong Listing Rules” are to the Rules Governing the Listing of Securities on the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong Limited;
Hong Kong Stock Exchange” are to The Stock Exchange of Hong Kong Limited;
leased hotels” are to leased-and-operated hotels;
legacy Huazhu” refers to our company excluding Deutsche Hospitality;
manachised hotels” are to franchised-and-managed hotels;
occupancy rate” refers to the number of rooms in use divided by the number of available rooms for a given period;
RevPAR” refers to revenue per available room, calculated by room revenue during a period divided by the number of available rooms of such hotel during the same period;
ordinary shares” or “Shares” are to our ordinary shares, par value US$0.00001 per share;
RMB” and “Renminbi” are to the legal currency of China;
US$” and “U.S. dollars” are to the legal currency of the United States; and
We,” “us,” “our company,” “our” and “Huazhu” are to Huazhu Group Limited, formerly known as China Lodging Group, Limited, a Cayman Islands company, and its predecessor entities and subsidiaries, in the context of describing our operations and consolidated financial information, also include our variable interest entities (“VIEs”) and their subsidiaries.

1

When calculating the number of cities in China with our hotel network coverage in this annual report, we include the number of municipalities, cities and counties with at least one hotel under our operation or under development.

In June 2021, we effected a share split that each issued and unissued ordinary share with a par value of US$0.0001 was sub-divided into ten ordinary shares with a par value of US$0.00001 each (the “Share Subdivision”). Concurrent with the Share Subdivision, the ratio of ADS to ordinary share was adjusted from one (1) ADS representing one (1) ordinary share to one (1) ADS representing ten (10) ordinary shares. Except otherwise stated, the Share Subdivision has been retrospectively applied for all periods presented in this annual report.

2

FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

This annual report on Form 20-F contains forward-looking statements that are made under the “safe harbor” provisions of the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. All statements other than statements of historical fact contained in this prospectus, including those regarding our future financial position, strategies, plans, objectives, goals and targets, future developments in the markets where we participate or are seeking to participate and any statements preceded by, followed by or that include the words “aim,” “anticipate,” “believe,” “could,” “estimate,” “expect,” “going forward,” “intend,” “may,” “ought to,” “plan,” “potential,” “predict,” “project,” “seek,” “should,” “will,” “would,” “vision,” “aspire,” “target,” “schedules,” “goal,” “outlook” and the negative of these words and other similar expressions, as they relate to us or our management, are intended to identify forward-looking statements. Such statements reflect the current views of our management with respect to future events, operations, liquidity and capital resources, some of which may not materialize or may change. These statements are subject to certain known and unknown risks, uncertainties and assumptions, including the risk factors as described in this prospectus supplement, the accompanying prospectus and the documents incorporated by reference therein. You are strongly cautioned that reliance on any forward-looking statements involves known and unknown risks and uncertainties. The risks and uncertainties facing us which could affect the accuracy of forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, the following:

our anticipated growth strategies, including developing new hotels at desirable locations in a timely and cost-effective manner and launching a new hotel brand;
our future business development, results of operations and financial condition;
expected changes in our revenues and certain cost or expense items;
our ability to attract customers and leverage our brand;
trends and competition in the lodging industry;
the status of Sino-U.S relations and related regulatory and legislative developments;
health epidemics, pandemics and similar outbreaks, including COVID-19; and
general economic, business and socio-political conditions globally, including recent Russia-Ukraine war.

By their nature, certain disclosures relating to these and other risks are only estimates and should one or more of these uncertainties or risks, among others, materialize, actual results may vary materially from those estimated, anticipated or projected, as well as from historical results. Specifically but without limitation, sales could decrease, costs could increase, capital costs could increase, capital investment could be delayed and anticipated improvements in performance might not be fully realized.

We would like to caution you not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements and you should read these statements in conjunction with the risk factors disclosed in “Item 3. Key Information—3D. Risk Factors.” Other sections of this annual report include additional factors that could adversely affect our business and financial performance. Moreover, we operate in an evolving environment. New risk factors and uncertainties emerge from time to time and it is not possible for our management to predict all risk factors and uncertainties, nor can we assess the impact of all factors on our business or the extent to which any factor, or combination of factors, may cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in any forward-looking statements. We qualify all of our forward-looking statements by these cautionary statements.

You should not rely upon forward-looking statements as predictions of future events. We undertake no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

3

PART I

ITEM 1.IDENTITY OF DIRECTORS, SENIOR MANAGEMENT AND ADVISERS

Not applicable.

ITEM 2.OFFER STATISTICS AND EXPECTED TIMETABLE

Not applicable.

ITEM 3.KEY INFORMATION

Implications of Being a Foreign Private Issuer and a China-based Company

We are a foreign private issuer within the meaning of the rules under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the “Exchange Act”), and as such we are exempt from certain provisions of the securities rules and regulations in the United States that are applicable to U.S. domestic issuers. Moreover, the information we are required to file with or furnish to the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) will be less extensive and less timely compared to that required to be filed with the SEC by U.S. domestic issuers. In addition, as a company incorporated in the Cayman Islands, we are permitted to adopt certain home country practices in relation to corporate governance matters that differ significantly from the Nasdaq corporate governance standards. These practices may afford less protection to shareholders than they would enjoy if we complied fully with the Nasdaq corporate governance standards.

We are exposed to legal and operational risks associated with our operations in China. We are subject to risks arising from China’s legal system, including the uncertainty in the interpretation and the enforcement of the PRC laws and regulations. In addition, rules and regulations in China can change quickly with little advance notice. Recently, Chinese regulators have announced regulatory actions targeting certain sectors of China’s economy, including the for-profit education sector and technology platforms that have a quantitatively significant number of users located in China. Although the lodging industry does not appear to be the focus of these regulatory actions, we cannot guarantee that the Chinese government will not in the future take regulatory actions that materially adversely affect the business environment and financial markets in China as they relate to us, our ability to operate our business, our liquidity and our access to capital.

The PRC government may also intervene or influence our operations at any time, or may exert more control over offerings conducted overseas and/or foreign investment in China-based issuers, including us, at any time, substantial intervention and influence over the manner of our operations, which could result in a material change in our operations or the value of our ADSs. Any actions by the PRC government to exert more oversight and control over offerings that are conducted overseas or foreign investment in China-based issuers could significantly limit or completely hinder our ability to offer or continue to offer securities to investors and cause the value of such securities to significantly decline or be worthless. Recently, the PRC government initiated a series of regulatory actions and statements to regulate business operations in China with little advance notice, including cracking down on illegal activities in the securities market, enhancing supervision over China-based companies listed overseas, adopting new measures to extend the scope of cybersecurity reviews, adopting new laws and regulations related to data security, and expanding the efforts in anti-monopoly enforcement. While we do not believe that these regulatory changes would have any material impact on us, we cannot assure you that the regulators will agree with us or will not in the future adopt regulations that restrict our business operations or access to capital.

For example, on July 6, 2021, the General Office of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and the General Office of the State Council jointly issued the Opinions on Severe and Lawful Crackdown on Illegal Securities Activities. These opinions emphasized the need to strengthen the administration over illegal securities activities and the supervision on overseas listings by China-based companies. These opinions proposed to take effective measures, such as promoting the construction of relevant regulatory systems, to deal with the risks and incidents facing China-based overseas-listed companies and the demand for cybersecurity and data privacy protection. These opinions and any related implementation rules to be enacted may subject us to additional compliance requirement in the future.

4

Cybersecurity and data privacy and security issues are subject to increasing legislative and regulatory focus in China. For example, the State Council of the PRC promulgated the Regulations on the Protection of the Security of Critical Information Infrastructure on July 30, 2021, which took effect on September 1, 2021. This regulation requires, among others, certain competent authorities to identify critical information infrastructures. The Cybersecurity Administration of China (the “CAC”) and a number of other departments under the State Council promulgated the Measures for Cybersecurity Review on December 28, 2021, which became effective on February 15, 2022. According to this regulation, critical information infrastructure operators purchasing network products and services and data processors carrying out data processing activities, which affect or may affect national security, are required to conduct cybersecurity review.

On September 1, 2021, the Data Security Law of the People’s Republic of China, or the Data Security Law, became effective, which imposes data security and privacy obligations on entities and individuals conducting data-related activities, and introduces a data classification and hierarchical protection system. In addition, the Standing Committee of PRC National People’s Congress promulgated the Personal Information Protection Law (the “PIPL”) on August 20, 2021, which took effect on November 1, 2021. The PIPL further emphasizes processors’ obligations and responsibilities for personal information protection and sets out the basic rules for processing personal information and the rules for cross-border transfer of personal information. On November 14, 2021, the CAC released the draft Administrative Regulation on Network Data Security for public comments through December 13, 2021 (the “Draft Administrative Regulation”). Under the Draft Administrative Regulation, foreign-listed data processors shall carry out annual data security evaluation and submit the evaluation report to the municipal cyberspace administration authority. We have implemented comprehensive cybersecurity and data protection policies, procedures and measures to safeguard personal information and ensure secured storage and transmission of data and prevent unauthorized access or use of data. However, we cannot guarantee that the regulators will agree with us or will not in the future adopt new regulations that restrict our business operations.

Since these regulatory actions are relatively new, it is uncertain how soon legislative or administrative regulation making bodies will respond and what existing or new laws or regulations or detailed implementations and interpretations will be modified or promulgated, if any, or the potential impact such modified or new laws and regulations will have on our daily business operation, our ability to accept foreign investments and listing on a U.S. or other foreign exchanges. PRC laws and their interpretations and enforcement continue to develop and are subject to change, and the PRC government may adopt other rules and restrictions in the future. See “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risk Factors—Risks Related to Doing Business in China” for more details.

5

Risks Associated with the Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act

Our financial statements contained in this annual report have been audited by Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Certified Public Accountants LLP, an independent registered public accounting firm that is headquartered in Shanghai, China with offices in other cities in China. It is a firm registered with the U.S. Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (the “PCAOB”), and is required by the laws of the U.S. to undergo regular inspections by the PCAOB to assess its compliance with the laws of the U.S. and professional standards. According to Article 177 of the PRC Securities Law which became effective in March 2020, the securities regulatory authority of the State Council may establish a regulatory cooperation mechanism with the securities regulatory authorities of another country or region, to implement cross-border supervision and administration. (“Regulatory Cooperation Mechanism”); no overseas securities regulator is allowed to directly conduct investigation or evidence collection activities within the territory of the PRC. Accordingly, without a Regulatory Cooperation Mechanism or the consent of the competent PRC securities regulators and relevant authorities, no organization or individual may provide the documents and materials relating to securities business activities to overseas parties. The Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act, or the HFCA Act, was enacted on December 18, 2020. The HFCA Act states if the SEC determines that a company has filed audit reports issued by a registered public accounting firm that has not been subject to inspection by the PCAOB for three consecutive years beginning in 2021, the SEC shall prohibit such securities from being traded on a national securities exchange or in the over the counter trading market in the U.S. The SEC has adopted rules to implement the HFCA Act and, pursuant to the HFCA Act, the PCAOB has issued a report notifying the SEC of its determination that it is currently unable to inspect or investigation completely accounting firms headquartered in mainland China or Hong Kong. Our auditor Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Certified Public Accountants LLP is subject to the determinations announced by the PCAOB on December 16, 2021. Further, the United States Senate has passed the Accelerating Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act, or the AHFCA Act. In February 2022, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the America Competes Act of 2022, which includes the same amendments as the bill passed by the Senate. However, the America Competes Act includes a broader range of legislation not related to the HFCA Act in response to the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act passed by the Senate in 2021. It is unclear when the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives will resolve the differences and this bill amending the HFCA Act is approved by both houses of Congress and signed by the President. If the AHFCA Act is enacted, it would decrease the number of “non-inspection years” from three years to two years, and thus, would reduce the time before our securities may be prohibited from trading or delisted. The delisting of our ADSs, or the threat of their being delisted, may materially and adversely affect the value of your investment. Additionally, the inability of the PCAOB to conduct inspections deprives our investors with the benefits of such inspections. See “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risk Factors—Risks Related to Doing Business in China—If the U.S. Public Company Accounting Oversight Board is unable to inspect our auditors as required under the Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act, the SEC will prohibit the trading of our ADSs. A trading prohibition for our ADSs, or the threat of a trading prohibition, may materially and adversely affect the value of your investment. Additionally, the inability of the PCAOB to conduct inspections of our auditors deprives our investors of the benefits of such inspections” for more details.

Risks Associated with Our Corporate Structure

Our investors hold securities of Huazhu Group Limited, which is not an operating company but a Cayman Islands holding company with operations primarily conducted by its subsidiaries, a majority of which are based in China and Europe. PRC laws and regulations restrict and impose conditions on foreign investment in certain internet-based businesses and international travel agency businesses. Accordingly, we operate these businesses in China through the variable interest entity, or VIE, model, and rely on contractual arrangements among our PRC subsidiaries, our VIEs and their respective nominee shareholders to control the business operations of the VIEs and their subsidiaries. The VIEs contribute an insignificant portion (less than 1%) of our total revenues and their impact to our consolidated financial statements are immaterial (contribute to less than 1% of our total assets).

Huazhu Group Limited, which is the company our investors hold securities in, may never have a direct equity ownership interest in the businesses that are conducted by the VIEs. Although the impact of the VIEs to our consolidated financial statements are immaterial, our ADSs may decline in value if we are unable to assert our contractual control rights over the assets of the VIEs that conduct some of our operations.

6

As a holding company, we rely upon dividends paid to us by our subsidiaries in the PRC and other countries and regions to pay dividends and to finance any debt we may incur. If our subsidiaries or any newly formed subsidiaries incur debt on their own behalf in the future, the instruments governing their debt may restrict their ability to pay dividends to us. In addition, our subsidiaries in the PRC are permitted to pay dividends to us only out of their accumulated profits, if any, as determined in accordance with PRC accounting standards and regulations. Under PRC laws and regulations, each of our Chinese subsidiaries are required to set aside a portion of their net income each year to fund a statutory surplus reserve until such reserve reaches 50% of its registered capital. This reserve is not distributable as dividends. As a result, our Chinese subsidiaries are restricted in their ability to transfer a portion of its net assets to us in the form of dividends, loans or advances. As an offshore holding company, we will be permitted under PRC laws and regulations to provide funding from the proceeds of our offshore fund-raising activities to our subsidiaries in China only through loans or capital contributions, subject to the satisfaction of the applicable government registration and approval requirements. Before providing loans to our PRC subsidiaries, we will be required to make filings about details of the loans with the State Administration of Foreign Exchange of the PRC (the “SAFE”) in accordance with relevant PRC laws and regulations. Our PRC subsidiaries that receive the loans are only allowed to use the loans for the purposes set forth in these laws and regulations. Under regulations of the SAFE, Renminbi is not convertible into foreign currencies for capital account items, such as loans, repatriation of investments and investments outside of China, unless the prior approval of the SAFE is obtained and prior registration with the SAFE is made.

Permissions Required from the PRC Authorities for Our Operations

As of the date of this annual report, to our best knowledge, our PRC subsidiaries or VIEs are not required to obtain any further permission or approval from the China Securities Regulatory Commission (the “CSRC”), Cyberspace Administration of China (the “CAC”) or other PRC regulatory authorities to approve our contractual arrangements with the VIEs and their respective shareholders other than the permissions mentioned in the next paragraph or the renewal of the permission or approval we have already obtained (if applicable). However, PRC laws and regulations governing the conditions and the requirements of such approval are uncertain and the relevant government authorities have broad discretion in interpreting these laws and regulations. Accordingly, the PRC regulatory authorities may take a different view. There can be no assurance that other PRC government authorities that regulate our business and other participants in the industry would agree that our corporate structure or any of the above contractual arrangements comply with PRC licensing, registration or other regulatory requirements, with existing policies or with requirements or policies that may be adopted in the future.

Furthermore, under current PRC laws, regulations and regulatory rules, we, our PRC subsidiaries or VIEs may be required to obtain permissions from the CSRC, and may be required to go through cybersecurity review by the CAC, in connection with the offering and listing in an overseas market. If we fail to obtain the relevant approval or complete other review or filing procedures for any future offshore offering or listing, we may face sanctions by the CSRC or other PRC regulatory authorities, which may include fines and penalties on our operations in China, limitations on our operating privileges in China, restrictions on or prohibition of the payments or remittance of dividends by our subsidiaries in China, restrictions on or delays to our future financing transactions offshore, or other actions that could have a material and adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations, reputation and prospects, as well as the trading price of our ADSs.

However, the PRC government has recently indicated an intent to exert more oversight and control over offerings that are conducted overseas and/or foreign investment in China-based issuers. For more detailed information, see “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risk Factors—Risks Related to Doing Business in China—Recent regulatory developments in China may subject us to additional regulatory review and disclosure requirements, expose us to government interference, or otherwise restrict or completely hinder our ability to offer securities and raise capital outside China, which could adversely affect our business operations and cause the value of our securities to significantly decline or become worthless.”

3.A. Selected Financial Data

[Reserved]

3.B. Capitalization and Indebtedness

Not applicable.

7

3.C. Reason for the Offer and Use of Proceeds

Not applicable.

3.D. Risk Factors

An investment in our ADSs involves risks. You should carefully consider the risks described below, as well as the other information included or incorporated by reference in this annual report, before making an investment decision. Our business, financial condition or results of operations could be materially adversely affected by any of these risks. The market or trading price of our ADSs could decline due to any of these risks, and you may lose all or part of your investment. In addition, the risks discussed below also include forward-looking statements and our actual results may differ substantially from those discussed in these forward-looking statements. Please note that additional risks not presently known to us, that we currently deem immaterial or that we have not anticipated may also impair our business and operations.

Risk Factor Summary

Risks Related to Our Business

Our operating results are subject to conditions affecting the lodging industry in general;
Our business is sensitive to Chinese, European and global economic conditions. A severe or prolonged downturn in the Chinese, European or global economy could materially and adversely affect our revenues and results of operations;
The lodging industries in China and Europe are competitive, and if we are unable to compete successfully, our financial condition and results of operations may be harmed;
The COVID-19 outbreak has adversely affected, and may continue to adversely affect, our financial and operating performance;
Seasonality of our business and national or regional special events may cause fluctuations in our revenues, cause our ADS or ordinary share price to decline, and adversely affect our profitability;
We may not be able to manage our planned growth, which could adversely affect our operating results;
Failure to comply with data protection laws or maintain the integrity of internal or customer data could result in harm to our reputation or subject us to costs, liabilities, fines or lawsuits; and
We, our directors, management and employees may from time to time be subject to claims, controversies, lawsuits and legal proceedings, which could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition, results of operations, cash flows and reputation.

Risks Related to Doing Business in China

We are subject to many of the economic and political risks associated with emerging markets due to our operations in China. Adverse changes in economic and political policies of the PRC government could have a material adverse effect on the overall economic growth of China, which could adversely affect our business;
Inflation in China may disrupt our business and have an adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations;
Uncertainties with respect to the Chinese legal system could limit the legal protections available to us and our investors and have a material adverse effect on our business and results of operations;

8

Recent regulatory developments in China may subject us to additional regulatory review and disclosure requirements, expose us to government interference, or otherwise restrict or completely hinder our ability to offer securities and raise capital outside China, which could adversely affect our business operations and cause the value of our securities to significantly decline or become worthless;
If the U.S. Public Company Accounting Oversight Board is unable to inspect our auditors as required under the Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act, the SEC will prohibit the trading of our ADSs. A trading prohibition for our ADSs, or the threat of a trading prohibition, may materially and adversely affect the value of your investment. Additionally, the inability of the PCAOB to conduct inspections of our auditors deprives our investors of the benefits of such inspections; and
Proceedings instituted by the SEC against the Big Four PRC-based accounting firms, including our independent registered public accounting firm, could result in financial statements being determined to not be in compliance with the requirements of the Exchange Act.

Risks Related to our ADSs, ordinary shares and Our Trading Market

The market prices for our ADSs and/or ordinary shares has been and may continue to be volatile;
An active trading market for our ordinary shares on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange might not be sustained and trading prices of our ordinary shares might fluctuate significantly;
If securities or industry analysts do not continue to publish research or publish inaccurate or unfavorable research about our business, the market prices and trading volume for our ADSs and/or ordinary shares could decline; and
Techniques employed by short sellers may drive down the market prices of the ADSs and/or ordinary shares.

Risks Related to Our Business

Our operating results are subject to conditions affecting the lodging industry in general.

Our operating results are subject to conditions typically affecting the lodging industry, which include:

changes and volatility in national, regional and local economic conditions in China, Europe and other countries and regions where we operate;
competition from other hotels, the attractiveness of our hotels to customers, and our ability to maintain and increase sales to existing customers and attract new customers;
adverse weather conditions, natural disasters or travelers’ fears of exposure to contagious diseases and social unrest;
changes in travel patterns or in the desirability of particular locations;
increases in operating costs and expenses due to inflation and other factors;
local market conditions such as an oversupply of, or a reduction in demand for, hotel rooms;
the quality and performance of managers and other employees of our hotels;
the availability and cost of capital to fund construction and renovation of, and make other investments in, our hotels;
seasonality of the lodging business and national or regional special events;

9

the possibility that leased properties may be subject to challenges as to their compliance with the relevant government regulations; and
maintenance and infringement of our intellectual property.

Changes in any of these conditions could adversely affect our occupancy rates, average daily room rates and RevPAR, or otherwise adversely affect our results of operations and financial condition.

Our business is sensitive to Chinese, European and global economic conditions. A severe or prolonged downturn in the Chinese, European or global economy could materially and adversely affect our revenues and results of operations.

Our business and operations are primarily based in China as well as in Europe. We depend on domestic business and leisure travel customers in China for a significant majority of our revenues, and we also derive a relatively large portion of our revenues from Europe following our acquisition of Deutsche Hospitality on January 2, 2020. Accordingly, our financial results have been, and we expect will continue to be, affected by developments in the economies and travel industries primarily of China as well as those of Europe.

As the travel industry is highly sensitive to business and personal discretionary spending levels, it tends to decline during general economic downturns. The growth rate of China’s GDP decreased from 2012 to 2016, and from 2018 to 2021. It is uncertain whether the growth of the Chinese economy will continue to slow down in the future. A prolonged slowdown in the Chinese economy could erode consumer confidence which could result in changes to consumer spending patterns for travel and lodging-related products and services. China’s economic growth rate may materially decline in the near future, which may have adverse effects on our financial condition and results of operations. Risk of a material slowdown in China’s economic growth rate is based on several current or emerging factors including: (i) overinvestment by the government and businesses and excessive credit offered by banks; (ii) a rudimentary monetary policy; (iii) excessive privileges to state-owned enterprises at the expense of private enterprises; (iv) the increases in labor costs; (v) a decrease in exports due to weaker overseas demand; (vi) failure to boost domestic consumption; and (vii) challenges resulting from international and geopolitical situations, especially the US-China trade war and the overall tension between such two nations. The European hotel industry is also significantly affected by European countries’ economic growth. While the European hotel industry demonstrated stable growth from 2015 to 2019, its growth rate slowed down in 2020 and 2021 due to the impact of COVID-19.

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The global financial markets experienced significant disruptions in 2008 and the United States, Europe and other economies went into recession. The recovery from the lows of 2008 and 2009 was uneven and it is facing new challenges, including sanctions against Russia over the Ukraine crisis since 2014, shadows of international terrorism spread by Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, which has been particularly intensified since the Paris terror attacks in November 2015, the impact of the election of Donald Trump as former President of the United States and the tax reform that he subsequently signed into law, the trade war between the United States and China and the Syrian airstrike in 2018, the tension between the United States and Iran in 2019, the impact of the United Kingdom leaving the European Union (the “EU”) and the outbreak of COVID-19. It is unclear whether such challenges will be contained or resolved and what effects they may have. There is considerable uncertainty over the long-term effects of the expansionary monetary and fiscal policies that have been adopted by the central banks and financial authorities of some of the world’s leading economies, including China’s. There have also been concerns over unrest in the Middle East and Africa, which have resulted in significant market volatility, and over the possibility of a war involving Iran or North Korea. In addition, conflicts between the United States and China have extended to multiple areas, which could place further pressure on China’s economic growth. For example, the U.S. government imposed economic and trade sanctions directly or indirectly affecting China-based technology companies. Such laws and regulations are likely subject to frequent changes, and their interpretation and enforcement involves substantial uncertainties, which may be heightened by national security concerns or driven by political and/or other factors that are out of our control. In addition, the SEC has issued statements primarily focused on companies with significant China-based operations, such as us. All of these events have introduced uncertainties to the geopolitical situations and the global economic outlook. There is considerable uncertainty over the long-term effects of the expansionary monetary and fiscal policies that have been adopted by the central banks and financial authorities of some of the world’s leading economies, including China’s and those of the EU and its member states. There have also been concerns over unrest in the Middle East and Africa, which have resulted in significant market volatility, and over the possibility of a war involving Iran or North Korea. Furthermore, eruptions of regional tensions, such as the ongoing military conflict involving Ukraine and Russia, and the related sanctions against Russia have resulted in major economic shocks worldwide and substantial volatility across global financial markets. It is unclear whether these challenges and uncertainties will be contained or resolved, and what effects they may have on the global political and economic conditions in the long term. In addition, there have been concerns about the economic effect of the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis in Japan and the tensions between Japan and its neighboring countries. Economic conditions in China and Europe are sensitive to global economic conditions.

It is unclear whether the above challenges will be contained or resolved and what effects they may have. Any prolonged slowdown in the Chinese, European or global economy may have a negative impact on our business, results of operations and financial condition, and continued turbulence in the international markets may adversely affect our ability to access the capital markets to meet liquidity needs.

The lodging industries in China and Europe are competitive, and if we are unable to compete successfully, our financial condition and results of operations may be harmed.

The lodging industries in China and Europe are highly fragmented. As a multi-brand hotel group, we believe that we compete primarily based on location, room rates, brand recognition, quality of accommodations, geographic coverage, service quality, range of services, guest amenities and convenience of the central reservation system. We primarily compete with other hotel groups as well as various independent hotels in each of the markets in which we operate, including Chinese hotel groups such as BTG Homeinns and Jinjiang, as well as international hotel groups such as Marriott, Intercontinental, Accor, Hilton and OYO. We also face competitions from lodging products offered on platforms such as Airbnb and service apartments. New and existing competitors may offer more competitive rates, greater convenience, services or amenities or superior facilities, which could attract customers away from our hotels and result in a decrease in occupancy rates and average daily room rates of our hotels. Competitors may also outbid us for new leased hotel conversion sites, negotiate better terms for potential manachised or franchised hotels or offer better terms to our existing manachised or franchised hotel owners, thereby slowing our anticipated pace of expansion. Furthermore, our typical guests may change their travel, spending and consumption patterns and choose to stay in other kinds of hotels, especially given the increase in our hotel room rates to keep pace with inflation. Even if our peers cannot outcompete us, any increasing supply of hospitality assets in the areas we operate could negatively affect our operational and financial results. Any of these factors may have an adverse effect on our competitive position, results of operations and financial condition.

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The COVID-19 outbreak has adversely affected, and may continue to adversely affect, our financial and operating performance.

In December 2019, COVID-19 was reported to have surfaced in Wuhan, China, which subsequently spread throughout China. The travel industry has been severely affected by the outbreak of COVID-19 since the beginning of 2020 due to the reduced traveler traffic in China. In addition, after COVID-19 was declared by the World Health Organization as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern on January 31, 2020, many foreign countries issued travel bans to China which further harmed the travel industry in China. These measures could slow down the development of the Chinese economy and adversely affect global economic conditions and financial markets. The Chinese government has also implemented strict nationwide containment measures against COVID-19, including travel restrictions, lock-downs of certain cities and hotel closures. Such containment measures negatively affected our hotels’ (both leased and owned hotels and manachised and franchised hotels) occupancy rate and revenue. Although China has temporarily controlled the outbreak, our revPAR recovery was still significantly impacted by several COVID-19 resurgences. For example, the recovery was seriously interrupted by the large-scale outbreak of Omicron variant in over 30 provinces since early March. Many cities were locked-down, such as Shanghai and Jilin, which resulted in a sharp decline in business and leisure travels. As a result, our occupancy rate (excluding hotels under requisition) dropped to around 59% in March 2022. However, the outbreak also led to a raising demand for quarantine and accommodation needs of medical team and delivery riders. As of March 31, 2022, we had 1,299 hotels of legacy Huazhu under governmental requisition.

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, we have taken various preventative measures, such as the introduction of intelligent non-contact services, across our hotels to help protect our employees and customers. In addition to the timely delivery of hotel supplies arranged by our centralized procurement team, we have also offered temporary franchise fee reductions and have helped our franchisees to obtain low-interest bank loans to meet their short-term working capital needs. For example, we helped introduce our franchisees to the banks and provided the banks with monthly operating statements of the franchisees recorded in our information systems as an evidence of the franchisees’ credit profiles. We do not bear any obligations under the loans that the banks extended to our franchisees. We have also taken various cost and cash flow mitigation measures to counter the negative impact of COVID-19 on our results of operations. Despite these efforts, our business operations and results in 2020 and 2021 were adversely affected by COVID-19.

In addition, the closure of our hotels and lower occupancy rate during this period, as a result of the Chinese government’s containment measures mentioned above, may amount to an event of default under certain of our banking arrangements. We have managed to obtain the required waiver since the outbreak of COVID-19 in 2020. However, there is no guarantee that we will continue to comply with the covenants under our outstanding facilities and we will be able to obtain such waivers in the future when required.

Moreover, we completed the acquisition of Deutsche Hospitality in January 2020. As COVID-19 spreads globally, the operations of Deutsche Hospitality in Europe have also been adversely affected since early March 2020. Thanks to the progress of vaccination campaigns and easing of social restrictions, Europe showed continuous business recovery trend. However, due to the third and fourth waves of the COVID-19 pandemic in European countries, the operations of Deutsche Hospitality in the fourth quarter of 2021 were impacted by tightened governmental control measures and testing requirements, which, as a result, disrupted the recovery trend. As a result, a number of our hotels under Deutsche Hospitality, or legacy DH, were then temporarily closed. As of December 31, 2021, all hotels of Deutsche Hospitality that were temporarily closed due to COVID-19 had resumed operation. Deutsche Hospitality is undergoing a continuous RevPAR recovery since Germany unfolded its opening-up plan in mid-February 2022. The RevPAR in March 2022 recovered to 65% of 2019 level, improved from only 47% in January 2022. RevPAR recovery in the near-term is expected to remain under pressure due to the recent Omicron variant. As a result, Deutsche Hospitality could experience cash shortfalls and may need to increase borrowings to finance its operations. There is no assurance that we could obtain sufficient financing for our business needs on reasonable terms, or at all. The failure to obtain sufficient financing on reasonable terms or at all could materially and adversely affect our financial condition, results of operations and business.

In addition, if any of our employees or customers is suspected of having contracted or has contracted COVID-19 while he or she has worked or stayed in our hotels, we may under certain circumstances be required to quarantine our employees that are affected and the affected areas of our premises. The significant decline in revenues for most hotels also increases the probability that franchisees will be unable to fund working capital and to repay or refinance indebtedness, which may cause our franchisees to declare bankruptcy. Such bankruptcies may result in termination of our franchise agreements and eliminate our anticipated income and cash flows. Moreover, bankrupted franchisees may not have sufficient assets to pay termination fees, other unpaid fees, reimbursements or unpaid loans owed to us.

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Our businesses have been significantly impacted by the global outbreak of COVID-19 and we experienced operating losses in 2020 and 2021. Our business operation has gradually recovered since 2021. Our total revenues increased by 25.4% from RMB10,196 million in 2020 to RMB12,785 million (US$2,006 million) in 2021. We closed down certain of our hotels in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic. Also, we recorded impairments of property and equipment, right-of-use assets and intangible assets of RMB180 million and RMB317 million (US$50 million) in 2020 and 2021, respectively, mainly due to the pandemic.

As COVID-19 continues to spread, its overall impact on our business, liquidity and results of operations is unknown at this time. Moreover, COVID-19 may not be eliminated and such outbreak may recur. While vaccines for COVID-19 are being, and have been developed, there is no guarantee that any such vaccine will be effective, work as expected or be made available or will be accepted on a significant scale and in a timely manner. Furthermore, certain variants have proven to be more severe and more transmissible, especially the pandemic’s recent emergence of the Delta variant and Omicron variant, which appears to be the most transmissible variant to date and has resulted in an increase in cases globally. These or future variants of COVID-19 could also prove to be more resistant to vaccines. The impact of the Delta variant and Omicron variant cannot be predicted at this time, and could depend on numerous factors, including vaccination rates among the population, the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines against the Delta variant and Omicron variant, and the response by governments. The potential downturn brought by and the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic may be difficult to assess or predict where actual effects will depend on many factors beyond our control. To the extent COVID-19 adversely affects our business, financial condition and results of operations, it may also heighten some of the other risks described in this “Risk Factors” section.

Seasonality of our business and national or regional special events may cause fluctuations in our revenues, cause our ADS or ordinary share price to decline, and adversely affect our profitability

The lodging industry is subject to fluctuations in revenues due to seasonality and national or regional special events. The seasonality of our business may cause fluctuations in our quarterly operating results. Generally, the first quarter, in which both the New Year and Spring Festival holidays fall, accounts for a lower percentage of our annual revenues than other quarters of the year. Our hotels in China typically have a lower RevPAR in the fourth quarter, as compared to the second and third quarters, due to reduced travel activities in the winter, though some of our European hotels may recognize higher sales in the fourth quarter as a result of more trade fairs and corporate events. In addition, national or regional special events that attract large numbers of people to travel may also cause fluctuations in our operating results in particular for the hotel locations where those events are held. Therefore, you should not rely on our operating or financial results for prior periods as an indication of our results in any future period. As our revenues may vary from quarter to quarter, our business performance is difficult to predict and our quarterly results could fall below investor expectations, which could cause our ordinary share and/or ADS prices to decline. Furthermore, the ramp-up process of our new hotels can be delayed during the low season, which may negatively affect our revenues and profitability.

Our relatively limited operating history makes it difficult to evaluate our future prospects and results of operations.

Our operations commenced in 2005, when we launched our HanTing Hotel brand. See “Item 4. Information on the Company — A. History and Development of the Company.” Accordingly, you should consider our future prospects in light of the risks and challenges encountered by a company with a relatively limited operating history. These risks and challenges include:

continuing our growth while trying to achieve and maintain our profitability;
preserving and enhancing our competitive position in the lodging industry in China, Europe and other countries and regions where we operate;
offering innovative products to attract recurring and new customers;
implementing our strategy and modifying it from time to time to respond effectively to competition and changes in customer preferences and needs;
increasing awareness of our brands and products and continuing to develop customer loyalty;
attracting, training, retaining and motivating qualified personnel; and

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renewing leases for our leased hotels on commercially viable terms after the initial lease terms expire.

If we are unsuccessful in addressing any of these risks or challenges, our business may be materially and adversely affected.

Our new leased and owned hotels typically incur significant pre-opening expenses during their development stages and generate relatively low revenues during their ramp-up stages, which may have a significant negative impact on our financial performance.

The operation of each of our leased and owned hotel goes through three stages: development, ramp-up and mature operations. During the development stage, leased and owned hotels do not generate any revenue, and incur pre-opening expenses generally ranging from approximately RMB1.5 million to RMB20.0 million per hotel. During the ramp-up stage, when the occupancy rate is relatively low, revenues generated by these hotels may be insufficient to cover their operating costs, which are relatively fixed in nature. As a result, these newly opened leased and owned hotels may not achieve profitability during the ramp-up stage. As we continue to expand our leased and owned hotel portfolio, the significant pre-opening expenses incurred during the development stage and the relatively low revenues during the ramp-up stage of our newly opened leased and owned hotels may have a significant negative impact on our financial performance. Moreover, we plan to develop more midscale and upscale leased and owned hotels in the future with relatively higher pre-opening expenses, especially rent, which may lead to a more evident negative impact on our financials. In addition, we must maintain our hotels’ conditions and may upgrade certain of our hotels, which requires renovation and other improvements to our hotels from time to time. Hotels under renovation may need to be closed partially or entirely or otherwise be seriously disrupted due to the renovations, which could adversely affect the hotels’ revenues.

A significant portion of our costs and expenses may remain at the same level or increase even if our revenues decline, which would adversely affect our net margins and results of operations.

A significant portion of our operating costs, including rent and depreciation and amortization, is fixed. Accordingly, a decrease in revenues could result in a disproportionately higher decrease in our earnings because our operating costs and expenses are unlikely to decrease proportionately. For example, the New Year and Spring Festival holiday periods generally account for a lower portion of our annual revenues than other periods. However, our expenses do not vary as significantly with changes in occupancy and revenues as we need to continue to pay rent and salary and to make regular repairs, maintenance and renovations and invest in other capital improvements throughout the year to maintain the attractiveness of our hotels. Our property development and renovation costs may increase as a result of increasing costs of materials. However, we have a limited ability to pass increased costs to customers through room rate increases. Therefore, our costs and expenses may remain constant or increase even if our revenues decline, which would adversely affect our net margins and results of operations.

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We may not be able to manage our planned growth, which could adversely affect our operating results.

Our hotel group has been growing rapidly since we commenced our business of operating and managing a multi-brand hotel group. We launched our hotel product HanTing Hotel in 2005, our economy hotel brand Hi Inn in 2008 and our midscale hotel brand JI Hotel in 2010. In May 2012, we completed the acquisition of a 51% equity interest in Starway Hotels (Hong Kong) Limited, or Starway HK, and in December 2013, we acquired the remaining 49% equity interest of Starway HK from C-Travel. We have retained the Starway Hotel brand. In addition, we launched Manxin Hotels & Resorts in October 2013, which was subsequently rebranded as Manxin Hotel, an upper midscale hotel brand; Joya Hotel, a new hotel brand targeting the upscale market, in December 2013; and Elan Hotel, a new economy hotel brand, in September 2014. In January 2016, we completed strategic alliance transactions with Accor S.A., or Accor, to join forces in the Pan-China region to develop Accor brands and to form an extensive and long-term alliance with Accor. In May 2017, we completed the acquisition of all of the equity interests in Crystal Orange Hotel Holdings Limited, or Crystal Orange, which operated hotels under the brands of Crystal Orange Hotel and Orange Hotel. In August 2018, we completed the acquisition of a majority stake in Blossom Hotel Investment Management (Kunshan) Co., Ltd., or Blossom Hotel Management, which was engaged in the business of operating and managing hotels under the brand of Blossom Hill Hotels & Resorts (rebranded as Blossom House in April 2020) in the upscale market in the PRC. We launched Madison Hotel brand and Grand Madison Hotel brand in 2019. In 2020, we merged Grand Madison Hotel brand into Madison Hotel brand. In January 2020, we completed the acquisition of all of the equity interests in Deutsche Hospitality. In 2020, we acquired Ni Hao Hotel brand, and started to develop and operate hotels under this brand. In May 2021, we completed the acquisition of CitiGO, which operates hotels under the brand of CitiGO Hotel. In July 2021, Steigenberger Hotels AG and Porsche Lizenz- und Handelsgesellschaft mbH & Co. KG signed a license agreement to jointly develop a luxury lifestyle brand named Steigenberger Porsche Design Hotels. Steigenberger Porsche Design Hotels are expected to be launched in selected international metropolises. We also launched our luxury hotel brands Steigenberger Icon and Song Hotels in 2021. Through such organic growth and acquisitions, we increased the number of our hotels in operation from 26 hotels as of January 1, 2007 to 7,830 hotels (including 124 hotels under Deutsche Hospitality) as of December 31, 2021.

We intend to continue developing and operating additional hotels in different geographic locations in China and overseas. Such expansions have placed, and will continue placing, substantial demands on our managerial, operational, technological and other resources. Our planned expansion will also require us to maintain the consistency of our products and the quality of our services to ensure that our business does not suffer as a result of any deviations, whether actual or perceived, in our quality standards. In order to manage and support our growth, we must continue improving our existing operational, administrative and technological systems and our financial and management controls, and recruit, train and retain qualified hotel management personnel as well as other administrative and sales and marketing personnel, particularly as we expand into new markets. We cannot assure you that we will be able to effectively and efficiently manage the growth of our operations, recruit and retain qualified personnel and integrate new hotels into our operations. Our inability to anticipate the changing demands that expanding operations will impose on our management and information and operational systems, or our failure to quickly adapt our systems and procedures to the new markets, could result in declines of revenues and increases in expenses or otherwise harm our results of operations and financial condition.

In addition, our expansion within existing markets may cannibalize our existing hotels in those markets and, as a result, negatively affect our overall results of operations. While expansion into new geographic markets, especially overseas, and addition of new hotel products for which we have limited operating experience and brand recognition may present operating and marketing challenges that are different from those we currently encounter in our existing markets. Those new markets may have different regulatory requirements, competitive conditions, consumer preferences and discretionary spending patterns as compared to our existing markets. As a result, any new hotels we open in those markets may be less successful than hotels in our existing markets. Guests and franchisees in any new market may not be familiar with our brands and we may need more time to build brand awareness in that market through greater investments in advertising and promotional activities than we anticipated. We may find it more difficult in new markets to hire, motivate and retain qualified employees who share our vision, passion and culture. Hotels operated in new markets may also have lower average revenues or higher operating costs than hotels in existing markets. Revenues at hotels operated in new markets may take longer than expected to ramp up and reach expected revenues and profit levels, and may never do so, thereby affecting our overall profitability.

There can be no assurance that any expansion, new hotel products or brands we introduce will be well received by our customers and become profitable in a timely fashion, or at all. If a new product or brand is not well received by our customers and our expansion into new geographic markets is not successful, we may not be able to generate sufficient revenue to offset related costs and expenses, and our overall financial performance and condition may be adversely affected.

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Our multi-brand business strategy exposes us to potential risks and its execution may divert management attention and resources from our established brand, and if any of the new hotel brands are not well received by the market, we may not be able to generate sufficient revenue to offset related costs and expenses, and our overall financial performance and condition may be adversely affected.

We launched our hotel brand HanTing Hotel in 2005, our economy hotel brand Hi Inn in 2008 and our midscale hotel brand JI Hotel in 2010. In 2012, we acquired the Starway Hotel brand. In addition, we launched Manxin Hotels & Resorts in October 2013, which was subsequently rebranded as Manxin Hotel, an upper midscale hotel brand; Joya Hotel, a new hotel brand targeting the upscale market, in December 2013 and Elan Hotel, a new economy hotel brand, in September 2014. We acquired Crystal Orange in May 2017, which holds hotels under the brands of Crystal Orange Hotel and Orange Hotel. In August 2018, we completed the acquisition of a majority stake in Blossom Hotel Management which holds hotels under the brand of Blossom Hill Hotels & Resorts (currently Blossom House). We launched the Madison Hotel brand and Grand Madison Hotel brand in 2019. In 2020, Grand Madison Hotel was merged into Madison Hotel brand. In January 2020, we completed the acquisition of Deutsche Hospitality, which operates in Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Africa, with hotels under brands of Steigenberger Hotels & Resorts, MAXX by Steigenberger, Jaz in the City, IntercityHotel, and Zleep Hotels. In 2020, we acquired Ni Hao Hotel brand, and started to develop and operate hotels under this brand. In May 2021, we completed the acquisition of CitiGO, which operates hotels under the brand of CitiGO Hotel. In July 2021, Steigenberger Hotels AG and Porsche Lizenz- und Handelsgesellschaft mbH & Co. KG signed a license agreement to jointly develop a luxury lifestyle brand named Steigenberger Porsche Design Hotels. Steigenberger Porsche Design Hotels are expected to be launched in selected international metropolises. We also launched our luxury hotel brands Steigenberger Icon and Song Hotels in 2021. We are still in the process of developing our various brands, such as the Elan Hotel, Joya Hotel, Manxin Hotel, Starway Hotel, Hi Inn, Crystal Orange Hotel, Orange Hotel, Blossom House, Madison Hotel brands and Ni Hao Hotel. In addition to the hotel brands owned by us, we entered into strategic alliance transactions with Accor in January 2016, and are developing Accor’s certain hotel brands in PRC, Taiwan and Mongolia under our brand franchise agreements.

We cannot guarantee the size and profitability of the various market segments that each new brand is targeting. The business models of these new brands are not proven and we cannot guarantee that they can generate return comparable to the established brands. The process of developing new brands may divert management attention and resources from our established brands. We may not be able to find competent management staff to lead and manage the execution of the multi-brand business strategy. If we are unable to successfully execute our multi-brand strategy to target various market segments, we may be unable to generate revenues from these market segments in the amounts and by the times we anticipate, or at all, and our business, competitive position, financial condition and prospects may be adversely affected.

We may not be able to successfully identify, secure and develop in a timely fashion additional hotel properties under the lease and ownership model or develop hotel properties on a timely or cost-efficient manner, which may adversely affect our growth strategy and business.

We plan to open more hotels to grow our business. Under our lease and ownership model (other than Deutsche Hospitality) and the lease model of Deutsche Hospitality, we may not be successful in identifying and leasing or acquiring additional hotel properties at desirable locations and on commercially reasonable terms or at all. Even if we are able to successfully identify and acquire new hotel properties, new hotels may not generate the returns we expect. We may also incur costs in connection with evaluating hotel properties and negotiating with property owners, including properties that we are subsequently unable to lease or own. In addition, we may not be able to develop additional hotel properties in a timely fashion due to construction or regulatory delays. If we fail to successfully identify, secure or develop in a timely fashion additional hotel properties, our ability to execute our growth strategy could be impaired and our business and prospects may be materially and adversely affected.

We develop a substantial majority of our leased and owned hotels directly. Our involvement in the development of properties presents a number of risks, including construction delays or cost overruns, which may result in increased project costs or lost revenue. We may be unable to recover development costs we incur for projects that do not reach completion. Properties that we develop could become less attractive due to market saturation or oversupply, and as a result we may not be able to recover development costs at the expected rate, or at all. Furthermore, we may not have available cash to complete projects that we have commenced, or we may be unable to obtain financing for the development of future properties on favorable terms, or at all. If we are unable to successfully manage our hotel development to minimize these risks, our growth strategies and business prospects may be adversely affected.

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Our leases could be terminated early, we may not be able to renew our existing leases on commercially reasonable terms and our rents could increase substantially in the future, which could materially and adversely affect our operations.

The lease agreements between our lessors and us typically provide, among other things, that the leases could be terminated under certain legal or factual conditions. If our leases were terminated early, our operation of such properties may be interrupted or discontinued and we may incur costs in relocating our operations to other locations. Furthermore, we may have to pay losses and damages and incur other liabilities to our customers and other vendors due to our default under our contracts. As a result, our business, results of operations and financial condition could be materially and adversely affected.

We plan to retain the operation of our leased hotels upon lease expiration through (i) renewal of existing leases or (ii) execution of franchise agreements with the lessors. We cannot assure you, however, that we will be able to retain our hotel operation on satisfactory terms, or at all. In particular, we may experience an increase in our rent payments and cost of revenues in connection with renegotiating our leases. If we fail to retain our hotel operation on satisfactory terms upon lease expiration, our costs may increase and our profit generated from the hotel operation may decrease in the future. If we are unable to pass the increased costs on to our customers through room rate increases, our operating margins and earnings could decrease and our results of operations could be materially and adversely affected.

We may not be able to successfully compete for franchise agreements and, as a result, we may not be able to achieve our planned growth.

Our growth strategy includes expanding through manachising and franchising, by entering into franchise agreements with our franchisees. We believe that our ability to compete for franchise agreements primarily depends on our brand recognition and reputation, the results of our overall operations in general and the success of the hotels that we currently manachise and franchise. Other competitive factors for franchise agreements include marketing support, capacity of the central reservation channel and the ability to operate hotels cost-effectively. The terms of any new franchise agreements that we obtain also depend on the terms that our competitors offer for those agreements. In addition, if the availability of suitable locations for new properties decreases, or governmental planning or other local regulations change, the supply of suitable properties for our manachise and franchise models could be diminished. If the hotels that we manachise or franchise perform less successfully than those of our competitors or if we are unable to offer terms as favorable as those offered by our competitors, we may not be able to compete effectively for new franchise agreements. As a result, we may not be able to achieve our planned growth and our business and results of operations may be materially and adversely affected.

We may have disputes with our franchisees and they may terminate the franchise agreements with us earlier if the franchised hotels’ performance is worse than they expected.

We may have disputes with our franchisees with respect to the performance of the franchise agreements. For example, we have in the past closed certain manachised and franchised hotels as a result of disputes with the franchisees regarding our measures to avoid competition between the franchisees, including keeping appropriate distances between the manachised and franchised hotels. Some franchisees were not satisfied with the performance of the hotel managers we appointed for our manachised hotels or generally the manachised or franchised hotels’ profitability or growth rates. Some franchisees complained that our loyalty program and other marketing efforts did not bring sufficient customers for their hotels. Our franchisees may also have disputes with us regarding other matters, such as the amount and settlement of fees payable by them and the adequacy of our operational support to them. In addition, our franchise agreements with franchisees typically provide that the franchise agreements could be terminated under certain circumstances. If franchise agreements are terminated early, we lose the franchise fees and related management fees. Furthermore, we may have to pay losses and damages to our guests, and our brand image may be adversely impacted. As a result, our business and results of operations and financial conditions may be adversely affected by early termination of our franchise agreements.

We plan to renew our existing franchise agreements upon expiration. However, we may be unable to retain our franchisees on satisfactory terms, or at all. If a significant number of our existing franchise agreements are terminated early or are not renewed on satisfactory terms upon expiration, our revenue and profit may decrease in the future. If we cannot secure new franchisees to replace those expired or terminated franchises and compensate for the loss of business, our results of operations could be materially and adversely affected.

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Acquisitions, financial investment or strategic investment may have an adverse effect on our ability to manage our business and harm our results of operations and financial condition.

If we are presented with appropriate opportunities, we may acquire or invest in businesses or assets. For example, we invested in Beijing Qingpu Tourism Culture Development Co., Ltd. in 2015, in AAPC Hotel Management Limited, China Young Professionals Apartment Management Limited and Chengjia (Shanghai) Investment Co., Limited in 2016, and in Blossom Hotel Management, Oravel Stays Private Limited and some securities in the hotel industry in 2017. We completed the acquisition of all of the equity interests in Crystal Orange in May 2017. In January 2018, we announced we have formed a joint venture with TPG. Hitone later also invested in this joint venture. In August 2018, we completed the acquisition of a majority stake in Blossom Hotel Management in steps. From 2017 to 2019, we also acquired shares of Accor and other companies from open market, and invested in certain hotel related funds. In January 2020, we completed the acquisition of all of the equity interests in Deutsche Hospitality. We also jointly established a company named Yongle Huazhu Hotel & Resort Group with a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sunac China Holdings Limited (“Sunac”) and Chengdu Global Times Exhibition and Travel Development Company Limited to develop and operate hotels. We will provide hotel operational services to the joint venture and the joint venture will develop and operate hotels under the brands of Blossom House, Steigenberger Hotels & Resorts and Sunac’s own brands.

The existing and future acquisitions or investments may expose us to potential risks, including risks associated with unforeseen or hidden liabilities, risks that acquired or invested companies will not achieve anticipated performance levels, diversion of management attention and resources from our existing business, difficulty in integrating the acquired businesses with our existing operational infrastructure, and inability to generate sufficient revenues to offset the costs and expenses of acquisitions or investments. In addition, following completion of an acquisition or investment, our management and resources may be diverted from their core business activities due to the integration process, which diversion may harm the effective management of our business. Furthermore, it may not be possible to achieve the expected level of benefits after integration and the actual cost of delivering such benefits may exceed the anticipated cost. Potential risk exposures associated with acquisition or investments, difficulties in business integration, requirements of cost, expenses and management attention may be more severe and unpredictable if international acquisitions and investments are involved. Any difficulties encountered in the acquisition or investment and integration process may have an adverse effect on our ability to manage our business and harm our results of operations and financial condition. In addition, if we purchase shares from the open market, we may experience volatility in our investments as the prices of such shares fluctuate frequently. For example, we incurred unrealized loss from fair value changes of equity securities associated with shares we purchased from the open market in the past. If a financial or strategic investment is unsuccessful, then in addition to the diversion of management attention and resources from our existing business we may lose the value of our investment, which could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.

Our legal right to lease certain properties could be challenged or affected adversely by property owners or other third parties or subject to government regulation.

A substantial part of our business model relies on leases with third parties who either own or lease the properties from the ultimate property owners. We also grant franchises to hotel operators who may or may not own their hotel properties. The land use rights and other property rights with respect to properties we currently lease, manachise or franchise for our existing hotels could be challenged. For example, our lessors have failed to provide the property ownership certificates and/or the land use rights certificates for certain properties that we lease for our hotel operations. While we have performed due diligence to verify the rights of our lessors to lease such properties, including inspecting documentation issued by competent government authorities evidencing these lessors’ land use rights and other property rights with respect to these properties, our rights under those leases could be challenged by other parties including government authorities. If the properties are deemed to be illegal constructions or the landlords do not have the rights to lease the properties to us for hotel operations purposes, the landlords (instead of us, as the lessee) may be subject to monetary penalties and the lease agreements may be invalidated. We may therefore be required to relocate our relevant hotels. We also cannot assure you that we can always keep good title of the properties we lease currently or will lease in the future, free and clear of all liens, encumbrances and defects. If the ultimate owner of the property changes after the original owner of such property mortgages such property to any third party, our legal rights under the lease agreement may be affected adversely and we may not rank senior in the right of continuing occupying the property.

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Under PRC law, all lease agreements are required to be registered with the local housing bureau. While the majority of our standard lease agreements require the lessors to make such registrations, some of our leases have not been registered as required, which may expose both our lessors and us to potential monetary fines. Some of our rights under the unregistered leases may also be subordinated to the rights of other interested third parties. In addition, in some instances where our immediate lessors are not the ultimate owners of hotel properties, no consents or permits have been obtained from the owners, the primary lease holders or competent government authorities, as applicable, for the subleases of the hotel properties to us, which could potentially invalidate our leases or lead to the renegotiation of such leases that result in terms less favorable to us or even relocation of our relevant hotels. Some of the properties we lease from third parties were also subject to mortgages at the time the leases were signed. Where consent to the lease have not been obtained from the mortgage holder in such circumstances, the lease may not be binding on the transferee of the property if the mortgage holder forecloses on the mortgage and transfers the property. Moreover, the property ownership or leasehold in connection with our manachised and franchised hotels could be subject to similar third-party challenges.

In Germany, our hotels are operated on the legal basis of lease, management or franchise agreements. Some agreements for hotels located in Germany are concluded subject to conditions precedent or require a consent by a third party, such as authorities in case of local measurement areas (for example, re-development) or ground owners in case of a hereditary building right. There are no indications that these requirements have not been fulfilled; however, if not met, failure to meet these requirements could potentially invalidate the respective agreements or lead to the renegotiation of these agreements which could result in less favorable terms. Furthermore, provisions or parts of lease, management or franchise agreements may not be effective or may lead to legal disputes. This could lead to additional cost burdens for our hotel operations. In addition, some of our leases, management or franchise agreements contain break rights and rescission rights entitling the landlords to terminate the agreements on a certain date or upon the occurrence of certain events. Further, in case of a fixed lease period of more than one year, German law provides for a written-form requirement regarding material terms of leases and therefore excludes an ordinary termination right prior to the lapse of the lease period. However, in case of a written-form defect, the lease agreement is not considered void but will be deemed to have an unlimited lease period with an ordinary termination right by law. Some of our leases may have a written-form defect, which effectively leads to a statutory termination right with a notice period. Such legal notice – in general – has to be given at the beginning of a calendar quarter with the termination being effective at the end of the following calendar quarter (i.e. the notice period is between six and nine months, depending on the date of the termination notice). Similar issues, except for the written-form defect, may occur in connection with our managed and franchised hotels.

Any challenge to our legal rights to the properties used for our hotel operations, if successful, could impair the development or operations of our hotels in such properties. We are also subject to the risk of potential disputes with property owners or third parties who otherwise have rights to or interests in our hotel properties. Such disputes, whether resolved in our favor or not, may divert management’s attention, harm our reputation or otherwise disrupt our business.

Any failure to comply with land- and property-related PRC laws and regulations may negatively affect our ability to operate our hotels and we may suffer significant losses as a result.

Our lessors are required to comply with various land- and property-related laws and regulations to enable them to lease effective titles of their properties for our hotel use. For example, before any properties located on state-owned land in China with allocated or leased land use rights or on land owned by collective organizations may be leased to third parties, lessors should obtain appropriate approvals from the competent government authorities. In addition, properties used for hotel operations and the underlying land should be approved for commercial use purposes by competent government authorities. Some of the lessors of our executed lease agreements have not obtained the required governmental approvals, including approvals of the properties for commercial use purposes. Such failure may subject the lessors to monetary fines or other penalties and may lead to the invalidation or termination of our leases and relocation of our relevant hotels, and therefore may adversely affect our results of operations. While some lessors have agreed to indemnify us against our losses resulting from their failure to obtain the required approvals, we cannot assure you that we will be able to successfully enforce such indemnification obligations against our lessors or that such indemnification can cover losses from all the property defects. As a result, we may suffer significant losses resulting from our lessors’ failure to obtain required approvals to the extent that we are not fully indemnified by our lessors.

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Our success could be adversely affected by the performance of our manachised and franchised hotels and defaults or wrongdoings of our franchisees may affect our reputation, which would adversely affect our results of operations.

Our success could be adversely affected by the performance of our manachised and franchised hotels, over which we have less control compared to our leased and owned hotels. As of December 31, 2021, we manachised and franchised approximately 90.6% of our hotels, and we plan to further increase the number of manachised and franchised hotels to increase our presence in China and our overseas markets. Our franchisees for both our manachised and franchised hotels may not be able to develop hotel properties on a timely basis, which could adversely affect our growth strategy and may impact our ability to collect fees from them on a timely basis. Furthermore, given that our franchisees are typically responsible for the costs of developing and operating the hotels, including renovating the hotels to our standards, and all of the operating expenses, the quality of our manachised and franchised hotel operations may be diminished by factors beyond our control.

Our franchisees may not successfully operate hotels in a manner consistent with our standards and requirements. Our manachised and franchised hotels are also operated under our brand names. If our brands are misused by any of our franchisees, there may be an adverse impact on our business reputation and brand image. In addition, like any operators in service-oriented industries, we are subject to customer complaints and we may face complaints from unsatisfied customers who are unhappy with the standard of service offered by our franchisees. Any complaints, regardless of their nature and validity, may affect our reputation, thereby adversely affecting our results of operations. We may also have to incur additional costs in placating any customers or salvaging our reputation. For example, in 2021, we closed 137 manachised and franchised hotels that did not comply with our brand and operating standards.

If any of our franchisees defaults or commits wrongdoing, there could be situations where the franchisee is not in a position to sufficiently compensate us for losses which we have suffered as a result of such defaults or wrongdoings. While we ultimately can take action to terminate our franchisees that do not comply with the terms of our franchise agreements or commit wrongdoing, we may not be able to identify problems and make timely responses and, as a result, our image and reputation may suffer, which may have a material adverse effect on our results of operations.

If we are unable to access funds to maintain our hotels’ condition and appearance, or if our franchisees fail to make investments necessary to maintain or improve their properties, the attractiveness of our hotels and our reputation could suffer and our hotel occupancy rates may decline.

In order to maintain our hotels’ condition and appearance, ongoing renovations and other leasehold improvements, including periodic replacement of furniture, fixtures and equipment, are required. In particular, we manachise and franchise properties leased or owned by franchisees under the terms of franchise agreements, substantially all of which require our franchisees to comply with standards that are essential to maintaining the relevant product integrity and our reputation. We depend on our franchisees to comply with these requirements by maintaining and improving properties through investments, including investments in furniture, fixtures, amenities and personnel.

Such investments and expenditures require ongoing funding and, to the extent we or our franchisees cannot fund these expenditures from existing cash or cash flow generated from operations, we or our franchisees must borrow or raise capital through financing. We or our franchisees may not be able to access capital and our franchisees may be unwilling to spend available capital when necessary, even if required by the terms of our franchise agreements. If we or our franchisees fail to make investments necessary to maintain or improve the properties, our hotel’s attractiveness and reputation could suffer, we could lose market share to our competitors and our hotel occupancy rates and RevPAR may decline.

Interruption or failure of our information systems or our business partners’ systems could impair our ability to effectively provide our services, which could damage our reputation and subject us to penalties.

Our ability to provide consistent and high-quality services and to monitor our operations on a real-time basis throughout our hotel group depends on the continued operation of our information technology systems, including our web property management, central reservation and customer relationship management systems. Certain damage to or failure of our systems could interrupt our inventory management, affect the manner of our services in terms of efficiency, consistency and quality, and reduce our customer satisfaction.

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Our technology platform plays a central role in our management of inventory, revenues, loyalty program and franchisees. We also rely on our website, call center and mobile application to facilitate customer reservations. Our systems remain vulnerable to damage or interruption as a result of power loss, telecommunications failures, computer viruses, fires, floods, earthquakes, interruptions in access to our toll-free numbers, hacking or other attempts to harm our systems, and other similar events. Our servers, which are maintained in Shanghai, may also be vulnerable to break-ins, sabotage and vandalism. Some of our systems are not fully redundant, and our disaster recovery planning does not account for all possible scenarios.

Furthermore, our systems and technologies, including our website and database, could contain undetected errors or “bugs” that could adversely affect their performance, or could become outdated and we may not be able to replace or introduce upgraded systems as quickly as our competitors or within budgeted costs for such upgrades. If we experience frequent, prolonged or persistent system failures, our quality of services, customer satisfaction, and operational efficiency could be severely harmed, which could also adversely affect our reputation. Steps we take to increase the reliability and redundancy of our systems may be costly, which could reduce our operating margin, and there can be no assurance that any increased reliability may be achievable in practice or would justify the costs incurred.

In addition, we collaborate with various business partners, such as airlines, in our day-to-day operations, and our ability to provide satisfactory services to customers also depends on the maintenance and efficacy of such business partners’ systems, such as the maintenance of networks with necessary speed, bandwidth, and stability. If any of our business partners’ systems encounter errors, “bugs” or other problems, our ability to effectively provide our services may be adversely affected, our reputation may be harmed, and we may also face customer complaints and be subject to fines and other penalties from competent authorities.

Failure to comply with data protection laws or maintain the integrity of internal or customer data could result in harm to our reputation or subject us to costs, liabilities, fines or lawsuits.

Our business involves collecting and retaining large volumes of internal and customer data, including personal information as our various information technology systems enter, process, summarize and report such data. We also maintain information about various aspects of our operations as well as regarding our employees. The integrity and protection of our customer, employee and company data is critical to our business. Our customers and employees expect that we will adequately protect their personal information. We are required by applicable laws to keep strictly confidential the personal information that we collect, and to take adequate security measures to safeguard such information.

The PRC regulatory and enforcement regime regarding privacy and data security is evolving and tightening:

The PRC Criminal Law, as amended by its Amendment 7 (effective on February 28, 2009) and Amendment 9 (effective on November 1, 2015), prohibits institutions, companies and their employees from selling or otherwise illegally disclosing a citizen’s personal information obtained during the course of performing duties or providing services or obtaining such information through theft or other illegal ways.
On November 7, 2016, the Standing Committee of the PRC National People’s Congress issued the Cyber Security Law of the PRC, which became effective on June 1, 2017. Pursuant to the Cyber Security Law of the PRC, network operators must not, without users’ consent, collect their personal information, and may only collect users’ personal information necessary to provide their services. Providers are also obliged to provide security maintenance for their products and services and shall comply with provisions regarding the protection of personal information as stipulated under the relevant laws and regulations. In addition, pursuant to the Cyber Security Law of the PRC, personal information and important data collected and generated by a critical information infrastructure operator in the course of its operations in China must be stored in China, and if a critical information infrastructure operator purchases internet products and services that affects or may affect national security, it should be subject to cybersecurity review by the CAC. Due to the lack of further interpretations, the exact scope of “critical information infrastructure operator” remains unclear.

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In June 2021, the Standing Committee of the National Peoples Congress promulgated the Data Security Law, which took effect in September 2021. The Data Security Law applies to data handling activities carried out within the territory of the People’s Republic of China. The Data Security Law further provides that data processing activities carried out outside of China, which harm national security, public interest or legal interests of Chinese citizens and organizations, should be subject to legal liabilities. Pursuant to the Data Security Law, those conducting data handling activities should, in accordance with laws and regulations, establish and perfect a data security management system across their entire workflow and adopt the corresponding technical measures and other necessary measures to ensure data security.
The Civil Code of the PRC (effective since January 1, 2021) provide main legal basis for privacy and personal information infringement claims under the Chinese civil laws.
The Personal Information Protection Law took effect on November 1, 2021, which outlines the main system framework and comprehensive requirements for personal information processing.

PRC regulators, including the CAC, MIIT, and the Ministry of Public Security have been increasingly focused on regulation in the areas of data security and data protection. Interpretation, application and enforcement of these laws, rules and regulations evolve from time to time and their scope may change continually through new legislation, amendments to existing legislation and changes in enforcement. We expect that these areas will receive greater and continued attention and scrutiny from regulators and the public going forward, which could cause us to incur substantial compliance costs and subject us to heightened risks and challenges associated with data security and protection. If we are unable to manage these risks, we could become subject to civil litigations brought by relevant individuals; administrative penalties, including fines, suspension of business, website closure, and revocation of prerequisite licenses; and our reputation and results of operations could be materially and adversely affected. On July 2, 2020, the CAC, announced that it had launched a cybersecurity review of DiDi Global, a company recently listed on the Nasdaq with operations in China, to prevent national data security risk and protect national security and the public interest. CAC then ordered the removal of DiDi’s app from China’s smartphone app stores. On July 5, 2021, the CAC announced the commencement of cybersecurity review of “Yunmanman”,”Huochebang” and “BOSS Zhipin” and suspended their new user registration. On July 10, 2021, CAC circulated the Measures for Cybersecurity Review (Revised Draft for Comments), or Cybersecurity Review Measures, providing, among other things, that information infrastructure operators or data processors in possession of information of more than one million users in China are subject to a regulatory cybersecurity review if they are seeking a listing in a foreign country. The Cybersecurity Review Measures also provide that PRC governmental authorities may initiate cybersecurity review if they determine cyber products or services, data processing activities or potential listing in a foreign country have affected or may affect national security. The Cybersecurity Review Measures were released on December 28, 2021 and took effect on February 15, 2022.There are substantial uncertainties as to whether and how the CAC’s further actions and the enacted version of the Cybersecurity Review Measures would impact U.S. listed companies like us. It is very likely that our data processing activities within China are regulated under the Cybersecurity Review Measures, which may subject us to cybersecurity review. If, based on the enacted version of the Cybersecurity Review Measures and other relevant rules and regulations, we will be subject to increased scrutiny regarding data security and data protection, our business, operation, reputation and share price may be adversely affected.

As we further expand our operations into international markets, we will be subject to additional laws and regulations in other jurisdictions where our hotels, guests, employees and other participants are located. The laws, rules and regulations of those jurisdictions may be more comprehensive and detailed, and may impose requirements and penalties which are more stringent than, or even conflict with, those in China. In addition, these laws, rules and regulations may restrict the transfer of data across jurisdictions, which could impose additional and substantial operational, administrative and compliance burdens on us, and may also restrict our business activities and expansion plans. For example, according to the Data Security Law, no organization or individual within the territory of the PRC may provide foreign judicial or law enforcement authorities with the data stored within the territory of the PRC without the approval of the competent authorities. Complying with laws and regulations for an increasing number of jurisdictions could require significant resources, costs and our management attention. See “Item 4. Information on the Company — B. Business Overview — Regulation — Regulation on Information Protection on Networks”.

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After the acquisition of Deutsche Hospitality, the European Union has become an important region for our data protection compliance. European data protection laws, in particular the Regulation (EU) 2016/679 of 27 April 2016 on the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data, and repealing Directive 95/46/EC (GDPR) (complemented by EU Member States Law on data protection such as the German Federal Data Protection Act), include strict rules on the processing of personal data, including the transfer of data from the European Union to China. Under the GDPR, any personal data may be used only if there is a legal justification (which could be a consent or an express statutory justification set out in the GDPR or other applicable EU laws), and the use must be restricted to legitimate purposes. Deutsche Hospitality has taken various technical and organizational measures, which are regularly reviewed and updated, to stay compliant, including appointment of a data protection officer and a special data protection working group, regulation of data processes, risk management assessment, preparation of relevant documentation and training. We also put high emphasis on proper dealing with data subject rights requests, i.e. the requests of customers, employees and other natural persons regarding our use of their data. We, including Deutsche Hospitality, take GDPR requirements and, in particular, data subject rights requests very seriously. However, we cannot guarantee that we are fully compliant in this complex area where many items are still unclear. This includes, in particular, international data transfers which have become even more complex and unclear under the Judgment of the European Court of Justice of 16 July 2020 (C-311/18 Data Protection Commissioner v Facebook Ireland Limited and Maximillian Schrems). Theoretically, fines for a violation of the GDPR can amount up to 4% of the global turnover of the whole group.

While we take various measures to comply with all applicable data privacy and protection laws and regulations, there is no guarantee that our current security measures and those of our third-party service providers may always be adequate for the protection of our customer, employee or company data; and like all companies, we have experienced data incidents from time to time. In addition, given the size of our customer base and the types and volume of personal data on our system, we may be a particularly attractive target. Unauthorized access to our proprietary internal and customer data may be obtained through break-ins, sabotage, breach of our secure network by an unauthorized party, computer viruses, computer denial-of-service attacks, employee theft or misuse, breach of the security of the networks of our third-party service providers, or other misconduct. Because the techniques used by computer programmers who may attempt to penetrate and sabotage our proprietary internal and customer data change frequently and may not be recognized until launched against a target, we may be unable to anticipate these techniques. Unauthorized access to our proprietary internal and customer data may also be obtained through inadequate use of security controls. For instance, in August 2018, online reports alleged that we had become the subject of potential information leak and a proposed class action complaint was filed against us and our management, which was voluntarily dismissed by the plaintiffs in February 2019. For more information, please see “Item 4. Information on the Company – 4.B. Business Overview – Legal and Administrative Proceedings.” We may face similar litigations in the future. Any of such proceedings may harm our reputation and adversely affect our business and results of operations. Besides proceedings, we may be subject to negative publicity about our security and privacy policies, systems, or measurements from time to time.

The laws and regulations applicable to security and privacy are becoming increasingly important globally. Complying with any additional or new regulatory requirements on a jurisdiction-by-jurisdiction basis would impose significant burdens and costs on our operations. Any failure to prevent or mitigate security breaches, cyber-attacks or other unauthorized access to our systems or disclosure of our customers’ data, including their personal information, could result in loss or misuse of such data, interruptions to our service system, diminished customer experience, loss of customer confidence and trust, impairment of our technology infrastructure, and harm our reputation and business, resulting in significant legal and financial exposure and potential lawsuits.

If the value of our brand or image diminishes, it could have a material and adverse effect on our business and results of operations.

We offer multiple hotel products that are designed to target distinct segments of customers. Our continued success in maintaining and enhancing our brands and image depends, to a large extent, on our ability to satisfy customer needs by further developing and maintaining our innovative and distinctive products and maintaining consistent quality of services across our hotel group, as well as our ability to respond to competitive pressures. If we are unable to do so, our occupancy rates may decline, which could in turn adversely affect our results of operations. Our business may also be adversely affected if our public image or reputation were to be diminished by the operations of any of our hotels, whether due to unsatisfactory service, accidents or otherwise. If the value of our products or image is diminished or if our products do not continue to be attractive to customers, our business and results of operations may be materially and adversely affected.

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Failure to protect our tradenames and trademarks as well as other intellectual property rights could have a negative impact on our brands and adversely affect our business.

The success of our business depends in part upon our continued ability to use our brands, trade names and trademarks to increase brand awareness and to further develop our products. The unauthorized reproduction of our trademarks could diminish the value of our brands and their market acceptance, competitive advantages or goodwill. In addition, we consider our proprietary information systems and operational system to be key components of our competitive advantage and our growth strategy. As of December 31, 2021, we had received copyright registration certificates for 140 software programs developed by us. However, none of our other proprietary information systems have been patented, copyrighted or otherwise registered as our intellectual property.

Monitoring and preventing the unauthorized use of our intellectual property is difficult. The measures we take to protect our brands, trade names, trademarks and other intellectual property rights may not be adequate to prevent their unauthorized use by third parties. Furthermore, the application of laws governing intellectual property rights in China and other jurisdictions is evolving and could involve substantial risks to us. In particular, the laws and enforcement procedures in the PRC are uncertain and do not protect intellectual property rights to the same extent as do the laws and enforcement procedures in the United States and other developed countries. If we are unable to adequately protect our brands, trade names, trademarks and other intellectual property rights, we may lose these rights and our business may suffer materially.

We may also be subject to claims for infringement, invalidity, or indemnification relating to third parties’ intellectual property rights. Regardless of their merits, such third party claims may be time-consuming and costly to defend, divert management attention and resources, or require us to enter into licensing agreements, which may not be available on commercially reasonable terms, or at all.

If we are not able to retain, hire and train qualified managerial and other employees, our business may be materially and adversely affected.

Our managerial and other employees manage our hotels and interact with our customers on a daily basis. They are critical to maintaining the quality and consistency of our services as well as our established brands and reputation. In general, employee turnover, especially in lower-level positions, is relatively high in the lodging industry. As a result, it is important for us to retain as well as attract qualified managerial and other employees who are experienced in lodging or other consumer-service industries. There is a limited supply of such qualified individuals in cities where we have operations and other cities into which we intend to expand. In addition, we need to hire qualified managerial and other employees on a timely basis to keep pace with our rapid growth while maintaining consistent quality of services across our hotels in various geographic locations. We must also provide training to our managerial and other employees so that they have up-to-date knowledge of various aspects of our hotel operations and can meet our demand for high-quality services. If we fail to do so, the quality of our services may decrease, which in turn, may have a material and adverse effect on our business.

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Our current employment practices may be adversely impacted under the applicable labor laws.

The PRC National People’s Congress promulgated the Labor Contract Law of the PRC (the “Labor Contract Law”) in 2007, which took effect in 2008, and amended it on December 28, 2012. The Labor Contract Law imposes requirements concerning, among others, the execution of written contracts between employers and employees, the time limits for probationary periods, and the length of fixed-term employment contracts. Because the PRC governmental authorities have introduced various new labor-related regulations since the effectiveness of the labor contract law, and the interpretation and implementation of these regulations are still evolving, our employment practices could violate the Labor Contract Law and related regulations and could be subject to related penalties, fines or legal fees. If we are subject to severe penalties or incur significant legal fees in connection with labor law disputes or investigations, our business, financial condition and results of operations may be adversely affected. In addition, a significant number of our employees are dispatched from third-party human resources companies, which are responsible for managing, among others, payrolls, social insurance contributions and local residency permits of these employees. According to a new regulation on labor dispatch, which was promulgated in January 2014 to implement the provisions of the labor contract law, a company is permitted to use dispatched employees for only up to 10% of its labor force after February 29, 2016. To comply with the labor dispatch regulation, we have reduced the percentage of dispatched employees since January 2014 by using service outsourcing arrangement. Under the service outsourcing arrangement, we have entered into service outsourcing agreements with a service outsourcing firm and relevant employees are deemed as employees of this service outsourcing firm. However, since the current labor dispatch regulation does not clearly define the distinction of labor dispatch and service outsourcing, our service outsourcing arrangement may be considered as labor dispatch by the relevant PRC government.

In addition, according to the Labor Contract Law and its implementing rules, if we intend to enforce the non-compete provision with our employees in the employment contracts or confidentiality agreements, we have to compensate our employees on a monthly basis during the term of the restriction period after the termination or ending of the employment contract, which may cause extra expenses to us.

In Germany, our business is subject to various labor-related statutory regulations. For example, there are restrictions regarding the assignment and use of temporary agency workers under the German Temporary Agency Work Act (Arbeitnehmerüberlassungsgesetz) which was substantially amended with effect from April 1, 2017. The interpretation of the amended regulations is still evolving. It is possible that we may be responsible for non-compliant assignments of temporary-agency workers, even if the root cause of the non-compliance lies with the temporary-work agency engaged by us. We could therefore be subject to related fines or temporary-agency workers could be deemed to be our employees by fiction. If we are subject to severe fines or incur significant legal fees in connection with labor law disputes or investigations, our business, financial condition and results of operations may be adversely affected.

In addition, our employment practices in other jurisdictions are also subject to changes in applicable labor law. If we are found to have violated any other applicable labor law requirements, we may be subject to fines or other penalties, which could in turn negatively affect our reputation and results of operations, and disputes with our employees could interrupt our business operations.

Failure to retain our management team could harm our business.

We place substantial reliance on the experience and the institutional knowledge of members of our current management team. Mr. Qi Ji, our founder and chairman of the board, Mr. Hui Jin, our chief executive officer, Ms. Xinxin Liu, our president, Ms. Hui Chen, our chief financial officer, and other members of the management team are particularly important to our future success due to their substantial experiences in lodging and other consumer-service industries. Finding suitable replacements for Mr. Qi Ji, Mr. Hui Jin, Ms. Xinxin Liu, Ms. Hui Chen and other members of our management team could be difficult, and competition for such personnel of similar experience is intense. The loss of the services of one or more members of our management team due to their departures or otherwise could hinder our ability to effectively manage our business and implement our growth strategies.

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We are subject to various laws and regulations, including franchise, hotel industry, construction, hygiene, health and safety environmental and advertising laws and regulations that may subject us to liability.

Our business is subject to various compliance and operational requirements under PRC laws. For example, we are required to complete the filing and submit annual reports with, the PRC Ministry of Commerce, or the MOC, to engage in the hotel franchising business. In addition, each of our hotels in China is required to obtain a special industry license from the local public security authority and complete fire prevention safety inspection/commitment with the local fire and rescue department, to have hotel operations included in the business scope of its business license, to obtain hygiene permits, and to comply with license requirements and laws and regulations with respect to construction permit, zoning, fire prevention, public area hygiene, food safety, public safety and environmental protection. We are also subject to advertising and other laws and regulations. See “Item 4. Information on the Company — B. Business Overview — Regulation — Regulations on Hotel Operation.” If we fail to comply with any applicable construction, hygiene, health and safety, environmental and advertising laws and regulations related to our business, we may be subject to potentially significant monetary damages and fines or the suspension of our operations or development activities. Furthermore, new regulations could also require us to retrofit or modify our hotels or incur other significant expenses.

New zoning plans or regulations applicable to a specific location may cause us to relocate our hotel(s) in that location, or require additional approvals and licenses that may not be granted to us promptly or at all, which may adversely affect our operating results. Any failure by us to control the use of, or to adequately restrict the discharge of, hazardous substances in our development activities, or to otherwise operate in compliance with environmental laws could also subject us to potentially significant monetary damages and fines or the suspension of our hotel development activities or hotel operations, which could materially adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations. Some of our hotels are not in full compliance with all of the applicable requirements. Such failure to comply with applicable construction permit, environmental, health and safety laws and regulations related to our business and hotel operation may subject us to potentially significant monetary damages and fines or the suspension of operations and development activities of our company or related hotels. We could be subject to any challenges or other actions with respect to such noncompliance.

Owners of our manachised and franchised hotels are subject to these same permit and safety requirements. Although our franchise agreements require these owners to obtain and maintain all required permits or licenses, we have limited control over these owners. Any failure to obtain and maintain the required permits or licenses by any operator of a manachised or franchised hotel may require us to delay opening of the manachised or franchised hotel or to forgo or terminate our franchise agreement, which could harm our brand, result in lost revenues and subject us to potential indirect liability.

Our businesses in Europe and other jurisdictions are subject to similar requirements and the business activities have to comply with various compliance and operational requirements, including inter alia regulations for customer and data protection, as well as regulations with respect to health, safety and fire protection and hygiene requirements. Compliance with these regulations and adaptions to new regulations could potentially disturb our business and lead to additional expenses.

We could suffer impairment losses for our intangible assets.

We had net intangible assets of RMB5,945 million and RMB5,385 million (US$845 million) as of December 31, 2020 and 2021, respectively. Our intangible assets consist primarily of brand names, master brand agreements, non-compete agreements, franchise or manachise agreements and our purchased software.

Brand names and master brand agreements are considered to have indefinite lives. We test indefinite life intangible assets at least annually for impairment, and more frequently if events or changes in circumstances indicate that they might be impaired. Our other intangible assets are considered to be finite life intangible assets. We evaluate finite life intangibles for impairment whenever events or changes in circumstances indicate that the carrying amount of the assets may not be recoverable. If such an adverse event occurs and has the effect of changing one of the critical assumptions or estimates related to the fair value of our intangible assets, an impairment charge could result.

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We recorded impairment loss of nil and RMB245 million (US$38 million) for the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2021, respectively. The extent, magnitude and duration of COVID-19 may change the assumptions and estimates used in the indefinite life intangible assets valuation, which could result in future impairment charges. There can be no assurance that future reviews of intangible assets will not result in significant impairment charges. Although it does not affect cash flow, an impairment charge will have the effect of decreasing our earnings, assets and shareholders’ equity.

We may suffer impairment losses for our goodwill.

We have acquired businesses from time to time, which have resulted in the recognition of goodwill on our financial statements. We had goodwill of RMB4,988 million and RMB5,132 million (US$805 million) as of December 31, 2020 and 2021, respectively. Goodwill is tested for impairment annually or more frequently if events or changes in circumstances indicate that it might be impaired. Factors that could lead to impairment of goodwill include significant adverse changes in the business climate, unanticipated changes in the competitive environment, adverse legal or regulatory actions or developments, changes in clients’ perception and the reputation of our brands, changes in interest rates, unfavorable changes in our stock price and market capitalization, and deterioration in our financial condition.

Due to the negative impact of COVID-19, we incurred goodwill impairment loss of RMB437 million in 2020, which was related to legacy DH. We did not recognize any goodwill impairment in 2019 and 2021. However, as the extent, magnitude and duration of COVID-19 is still uncertain, we may need to change our assumption, which could result in future impairment charges.

Our financial and operating performance may be adversely affected by epidemics, adverse weather conditions, natural disasters and other catastrophes.

Our financial and operating performance may be adversely affected by epidemics, adverse weather conditions, natural disasters and other catastrophes, particularly in locations where we operate a large number of hotels.

Our business could be materially and adversely affected by the outbreak of swine influenza, avian influenza, severe acute respiratory syndrome, COVID-19 or other epidemics. Since COVID-19 was reported in China in December 2019, the whole world has suffered from the impact of COVID-19. Any prolonged recurrence of such contagious disease or other adverse public health developments in China, Europe and other countries and regions may have a material and adverse effect on our operations. For example, if any of our employees or customers are suspected of having contracted any contagious disease while he or she has worked or stayed in our hotels, we may under certain circumstances be required to quarantine our employees that are affected and the affected areas of our premises. Any contraction by our employees or customers could also affect the safety reputation of the relevant hotels, which in turn could undermine customers’ willingness to stay in such hotels.

In recent years, there have also been reports on the occurrences of avian influenza in various parts of China, Europe and other countries and regions that we operate, including hundreds of confirmed human deaths. Any prolonged recurrence of such contagious disease or other adverse public health developments in China, Europe and other countries and regions that we operate may have a material and adverse effect on our operations. For example, if any of our employees or customers is suspected of having contracted any contagious disease while he or she has worked or stayed in our hotels, we may under certain circumstances be required to quarantine our employees that are affected and the affected areas of our premises.

Losses caused by epidemics, adverse weather conditions, natural disasters and other catastrophes, including earthquakes or typhoons, are either uninsurable or too expensive to justify insuring against in China, Europe and other countries and regions that we operate. In the event an uninsured loss or a loss in excess of insured limits occurs, we could lose all or a portion of the capital we have invested in a hotel, as well as the anticipated future revenues from the hotel. In that event, we might nevertheless remain obligated for any financial commitments related to the hotel.

Similarly, war (including the potential of war), terrorist activity (including threats of terrorist activity), social unrest and heightened travel security measures instituted in response, travel-related accidents, as well as geopolitical uncertainty and international conflict, will affect travel and may in turn have a material adverse effect on our business and results of operations. In addition, we may not be adequately prepared in contingency planning or recovery capability in relation to a major incident or crisis, and as a result, our operational continuity may be adversely and materially affected and our reputation may be harmed.

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Our limited insurance coverage may expose us to losses, which may have a material adverse effect on our reputation, business, financial condition and results of operations.

We carry all mandatory and certain optional commercial insurance, including property, business interruption, construction, third-party liability, public liability, product’s liability and employer’s liability insurance for our leased and owned hotel operations. We also require our lessors, franchisees and contractors to purchase customary insurance policies. Although we require our franchisees to obtain the requisite insurance coverage through our franchisees management, we cannot guarantee that our franchisees will adhere to such requirements. In particular, there are inherent risks of accidents or injuries in hotels. One or more accidents or injuries at any of our hotels could adversely affect our safety reputation among customers and potential customers, decrease our overall occupancy rates and increase our costs by requiring us to take additional measures to make our safety precautions even more visible and effective. In the future, we may be unable to renew our insurance policies or obtain new insurance policies without increases in cost or decreases in coverage levels. We may also encounter disputes with insurance providers regarding payments of claims that we believe are covered under our policies. Furthermore, if we are held liable for amounts and claims exceeding the limits of our insurance coverage or outside the scope of our insurance coverage, our reputation, business, financial condition and results of operations may be materially and adversely affected.

If we fail to maintain an effective system of internal control over financial reporting, we may not be able to accurately report our financial results or prevent fraud.

We are subject to reporting obligations under the U.S. securities laws. The Securities and Exchange Commission, or the SEC, as required by Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, or the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, adopted rules requiring every public company to include in its annual report a management report on such company’s internal control over financial reporting containing management’s assessment of the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting. In addition, an independent registered public accounting firm must attest to and report on the effectiveness of such company’s internal control over financial reporting except where the company is a non-accelerated filer. We currently are a large accelerated filer.

In connection with the preparation of this annual report, we carried out an evaluation of the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting. Based on this assessment and evaluation, our management has concluded that our internal control over financial reporting was effective as of December 31, 2021. Our independent registered public accounting firm has issued an attestation report as of December 31, 2021. See “Item 15. Controls and Procedures—Attestation Report of the Registered Public Accounting Firm.” However, if we fail to maintain effective internal control over financial reporting in the future, our management and our independent registered public accounting firm may not be able to conclude that we have effective internal control over financial reporting. This could in turn result in the loss of investor confidence in the reliability of our financial statements and negatively impact the trading prices of our ADSs and/or ordinary shares. Furthermore, we have incurred and anticipate that we will continue to incur considerable costs, management time and other resources in an effort to continue to comply with Section 404 and other requirements of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.

We, our directors, management and employees may be subject to certain risks related to legal proceedings filed by or against us, and adverse results may harm our business.

We cannot predict with certainty the cost of defense, the cost of prosecution or the ultimate outcome of litigation and other proceedings filed by or against us, our directors, management or employees, including remedies or damage awards, and adverse results in such litigation and other proceedings may harm our business or reputation. Such litigation and other proceedings may include, but are not limited to, actions relating to intellectual property, commercial arrangements, leased properties, share transfer, employment, non-competition and labor law, fiduciary duties, personal injury, death, property damage or other harm resulting from acts or omissions by individuals or entities outside of our control, including franchisees and third-party property owners. For example, as of December 31, 2021, we had some pending legal, administrative and arbitration proceedings, including real estate lease terminations and disputes and management agreement disputes. Moreover, in the case of intellectual property litigation and proceedings, adverse outcomes could include the cancellation, invalidation or other loss of material intellectual property rights used in our business and injunctions prohibiting our use of business processes or technology that is subject to third- party patents or other third-party intellectual property rights.

We generally are not liable for the willful actions of our franchisees and property owners; however, there is no assurance that we would be insulated from liability in all cases.

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Risks Related to Doing Business in China

We are subject to many of the economic and political risks associated with emerging markets due to our operations in China. Adverse changes in economic and political policies of the PRC government could have a material adverse effect on the overall economic growth of China, which could adversely affect our business.

With global presence, we conduct a substantial portion of our business and operations in China. As the lodging industry is highly sensitive to business and personal discretionary spending levels, it tends to decline during general economic downturns. Accordingly, our results of operations, financial condition and prospects are subject to a significant degree to economic developments in China. China’s economy differs from the economies of most developed countries in many respects, including with respect to the amount and degree of government involvement and influence on the level of development, growth rate, control of foreign exchange and allocation of resources. While the PRC economy has experienced significant growth in the past four decades, growth has been uneven across different regions and among various economic sectors of China. The PRC government has implemented various measures to encourage economic development and guide the allocation of resources. While some of these measures benefit the overall PRC economy, they may also have a negative effect on us. For example, our results of operations and financial condition may be adversely affected by government control over capital investments or changes in environmental, health, labor or tax regulations that are applicable to us.

As the PRC economy is increasingly intricately linked to the global economy, it is affected in various respects by downturns and recessions of major economies around the world, such as the global financial crisis and sovereign debt crisis in Europe. Stimulus measures designed to help China weather the global financial crisis may contribute to higher inflation, which could adversely affect our results of operations and financial condition. For example, certain operating costs and expenses, such as employee compensation and hotel operating expenses, may increase as a result of higher inflation. Measures to control the pace of economic growth may cause a decrease in the level of economic activity in China, which in turn could adversely affect our results of operations and financial condition. In addition, the PRC government continues to play a significant role in regulating industry development by imposing industrial policies. The Chinese government has recently published new policies that significantly affected certain industries such as the education and internet industries, and we cannot rule out the possibility that it will in the future release regulations or policies regarding our industry that could require us to seek permission from Chinese authorities to continue to operate our business, which may adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations. Furthermore, recent statements made by the Chinese government have indicated an intent to increase the governments oversight and control over offerings of companies with significant operations in China that are to be conducted in foreign markets, as well as foreign investment in China-based issuers like us. The PRC government also exercises significant control over Chinas economic growth through its allocation of resources, control of payment of foreign currency-denominated obligations, monetary policy, and preferential treatment for particular industries or companies. Any such action, once taken by the Chinese government, could significantly limit or completely hinder our ability to offer or continue to offer ADSs and Shares to our investors, and could cause the value of our ADSs and Shares to significantly decline or become worthless.

The PRC government also exercises significant control over China’s economic growth through the allocation of resources, controlling payment of foreign currency-denominated obligations, interest rate changes, setting monetary policy and providing preferential treatment to particular industries or companies. Certain measures adopted by the PRC government, such as changes of the People’s Bank of China’s statutory deposit reserve ratio and lending guideline imposed on commercial banks, may restrict loans to certain industries. The State Administration of Foreign Exchange, or “SAFE”, and the relevant Chinese banks where our operating subsidiaries or VIEs in China opened bank accounts may adopt restrictions on the cross-border payment obligations and dividends repatriation made by these subsidiaries or VIEs by way of “window guidance” measures. These actions, as well as future actions and policies of the PRC government, could materially affect our liquidity and access to capital and our ability to operate our business. In addition, these measures may also cause decreased economic activity in China, and, since 2012, the Chinese economy has slowed down. Any prolonged slowdown in the Chinese economy may reduce the demand for our services and materially and adversely affect our business and results of operations. There have also been concerns about the relationships among China and other Asian countries, the relationship between China and the United States, as well as the relationship between the United States and certain Asian countries such as North Korea, which may result in or intensify potential conflicts in relation to territorial, regional security and trade disputes.

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Any adverse changes in economic conditions in China, in the policies of the Chinese government or in the laws and regulations in China could have a material adverse effect on the overall economic growth of China. Such developments could adversely affect our business and operating results, leading to reduction in demand for our services and solutions and adversely affect our competitive position. An economic downturn, whether actual or perceived, a further decrease in economic growth rates or an otherwise uncertain economic outlook in China could have a material adverse effect on business and consumer spending and, as a result, adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Inflation in China may disrupt our business and have an adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.

The Chinese economy has experienced rapid expansion together with rising rates of inflation and increasing salaries. Salary increases could potentially increase discretionary spending on travel, but general inflation may also erode disposable incomes and consumer spending. Furthermore, certain components of our operating costs, including personnel, food, laundry, consumables and property development and renovation costs, may increase as a result of an increase in the cost of materials and labor resulting from general inflation. However, we cannot guarantee that we can pass increased costs to customers through room rate increases. This could adversely impact our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Uncertainties with respect to the Chinese legal system could limit the legal protections available to us and our investors and have a material adverse effect on our business and results of operations.

Most of our operations are conducted in the PRC through our PRC subsidiaries, and are governed by PRC laws, rules and regulations. We also have operations through the VIEs, which contribute an insignificant portion of our total revenues and their impact to our consolidated financial statements are immaterial. The PRC legal system is a civil law system based on written statutes. Unlike in common law systems, prior court decisions may be cited for reference but have limited precedential value.

Furthermore, the PRC legal system is based in part on government policies and internal rules, some of which are not published on a timely basis or at all. As a result, we may not be aware of our potential violation of these policies and rules. In addition, any administrative and court proceedings in China may be protracted and result in substantial costs and diversion of resources and management attention.

PRC government has significant oversight over the conduct of our business and it has recently indicated an intent to exert more oversight over offerings that are conducted overseas and/or foreign investment in China-based issuers. Any such action could significantly limit or completely hinder our ability to offer or continue to offer securities to investors and cause the value of such securities to significantly decline or be worthless.

Additionally, the promulgation of new laws, changes to existing laws or the interpretation or enforcement thereof, or the preemption of local regulations by national laws may have an adverse effect on our operations. On July 6, 2021, the General Office of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and the General Office of the State Council jointly issued the Opinions on Severely Cracking Down on Illegal Securities Activities in accordance with the law, or the Opinions. The Opinions emphasized the need to strengthen the administration over illegal securities activities, and to strengthen the supervision over overseas listings of Chinese companies. Measures, such as promoting the construction of relevant regulatory systems, will be taken to deal with the risks and incidents, such as data security and privacy protection, of China-based overseas listed companies. As there are uncertainties regarding the interpretation and implementation of such regulatory guidance, we cannot assure you that we will be able to comply with new regulatory requirements relating to our future overseas capital raising activities and we may be subject to more stringent requirements with respect to data privacy, cross-border investigations and legal claim enforcements. Uncertainties in the effect of future regulatory developments in China could limit the legal protections available to us and other foreign investors, including you. In addition, any litigation in China may be protracted and result in substantial costs and diversion of our resources and management attention.

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PRC laws and regulations have significantly enhanced the protections afforded to various forms of foreign investments in China for the past decades. However, China has not developed a fully integrated legal system, and recently enacted laws and regulations may not sufficiently cover all aspects of economic activities in China. In particular, because these laws and regulations are relatively new, and because of the limited volume of published decisions and their nonbinding nature, the interpretation and enforcement of these laws and regulations involve uncertainties. Furthermore, the PRC legal system is based in part on government policies and internal rules, some of which are not published on a timely basis or at all, which may have a retroactive effect. As a result, we may not be aware of our violation of these policies and rules until sometime after the violation. In addition, any administrative and court proceedings in China may be protracted, resulting in substantial costs and diversion of resources and management attention.

Recent regulatory developments in China may subject us to additional regulatory review and disclosure requirements, expose us to government interference, or otherwise restrict or completely hinder our ability to offer securities and raise capital outside China, which could adversely affect our business operations and cause the value of our securities to significantly decline or become worthless.

As our primary business is conducted in China, we are exposed to legal and other risks associated with our operations in China. The PRC government has significant authority to exert influence on the ability of a company with operations in China, including us, to conduct its business, and may exert substantial intervention and influence over the manner our operations. Any actions by the PRC government to exert more oversight and control over offerings that are conducted overseas or foreign investment in companies having operations in China, including us, could significantly limit or completely hinder our ability to offer or continue to offer securities to investors, and cause the value of our securities to significantly decline or become worthless. Recently, the PRC government initiated a series of regulatory actions and statements to regulate business operations in China with little advance notice, including cracking down on illegal activities in the securities market, enhancing supervision over China-based companies listed overseas, adopting new measures to extend the scope of cybersecurity reviews, adopting new laws and regulations related to data security, and expanding the efforts in anti-monopoly enforcement. While we do not believe that these regulatory changes would have any material impact on us, we cannot guarantee that the authorities will agree with us or will not promulgate new regulations that restrict our business operations or access to capital.

On July 6, 2021, the General Office of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and the General Office of the State Council jointly issued the Opinions on Severe and Lawful Crackdown on Illegal Securities Activities. These opinions emphasized the need to strengthen the administration over illegal securities activities and the supervision on overseas listings by China-based companies. These opinions proposed to take effective measures, such as promoting the construction of relevant regulatory systems, to deal with the risks and incidents facing China-based overseas-listed companies and the demand for cybersecurity and data privacy protection. These opinions and any related implementation rules to be enacted may subject us to additional compliance requirement in the future. As these opinions were recently issued, official guidance and interpretation of the opinions remain unclear in several respects at this time. Therefore, we cannot assure you that we will remain fully compliant with all new regulatory requirements of these opinions or any future implementation rules on a timely basis, or at all.

Cybersecurity and data privacy and security issues are legislative and regulatory focus in China. On July 30, 2021, the State Council of the PRC promulgated the Regulations on the Protection of the Security of Critical Information Infrastructure, which took effect on September 1, 2021. This regulation requires, among others, certain competent authorities to identify critical information infrastructures. If any critical information infrastructure is identified, the relevant authorities shall promptly notify the relevant operator and the Ministry of Public Security. The CAC and a number of other departments under the State Council promulgated the Measures for Cybersecurity Review on December 28, 2021, which became effective on February 15, 2022. According to this regulation, critical information infrastructure operators purchasing network products and services and network platform operators carrying out data processing activities, which affect or may affect national security, are required to conduct cybersecurity review. We cannot rule out the possibility that the competent PRC government authorities will not initiate cybersecurity reviews on us in the future. Since the effective date of the Measures for Cybersecurity Review till the date of this annual report, we have not been involved in any investigations on cybersecurity review made by the CAC, and we have not received any inquiry, notice, warning, or sanctions in such respect. However, as these are new regulations that are evolving, there remains uncertainties as to how they will be interpreted or implemented in the context of an overseas offering.

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We may be subject to PRC laws relating to the collection, use, sharing, retention security, and transfer of confidential and private information, such as personal information and other data. For example, on September 1, 2021, the PRC Data Security Law became effective, which imposes data security and privacy obligations on entities and individuals conducting data-related activities, and introduces a data classification and hierarchical protection system based on the importance of data in economic and social development, as well as the degree of harm it will cause to national security, public interests, or legitimate rights and interests of individuals or organizations when such data is tampered with, destroyed, leaked, or illegally acquired or used. In addition, the Standing Committee of PRC National People’s Congress promulgated the Personal Information Protection Law (the “PIPL”) on August 20, 2021, which took effect on November 1, 2021. The PIPL further emphasizes processors’ obligations and responsibilities for personal information protection and sets out the basic rules for processing personal information and the rules for cross-border transfer of personal information. On November 14, 2021, the Cyberspace Administration of China released the draft Administrative Regulation on Network Data Security for public comments through December 13, 2021 (the “Draft Administrative Regulation”). Under the Draft Administrative Regulation, foreign-listed data processors shall carry out annual data security evaluation and submit the evaluation report to the municipal cyberspace administration authority. We have implemented comprehensive cybersecurity and data protection policies, procedures and measures to safeguard personal information rights and ensure secured storage and transmission of data and prevent unauthorized access or use of data. Since the effective date of the PIPL till the date of this annual report, we have not been involved in any investigations on data security or privacy compliance issues in connection with the PRC Data Security Law or the PIPL, and we have not received any inquiry, notice, warning, or sanctions in such respect. However, we cannot guarantee that the regulators will agree with us or will not in the future adopt new regulations that restrict our business operations.

On December 24, 2021, the CSRC published consultation drafts on the State Council Regulations on the Overseas Issuance and Listing of Securities by Domestic Enterprises and the Filing Management Rules on the Overseas Issuance and Listing of Securities by Domestic Enterprises. These regulations apply to various types of overseas equity offerings and listings, including secondary or dual primary listings, listing through special purchase acquisition companies, issuance of equity incentive awards, issuance of equity securities or securities convertible into or exchangeable for equity securities. Issuers conducting these transactions will need to make filings with the CSRC. According to the China Securities Regulatory Commissions answer to reporters’ questions on the two drafts on December 24, 2021, the regulations will adhere to the principle of non-retroactivity of laws, and will go through the filing procedures as required for companies planning to go public and overseas listed companies that have refinancing activities; The filing of listed companies will be arranged separately, and a sufficient transition period will be given. Since these are drafts, it is unclear the extent the CSRC will conduct review of our future overseas equity offerings or listings. Separately, one of the preconditions for the CSRC filings is for the issuers complete the cybersecurity review by the CAC to the extent applicable. In addition, these new regulations and their future developments could potentially complicate our future equity offerings and require us to incur significant compliance costs.

On October 23, 2021, the Standing Committee of the National Peoples Congress published the Amended Draft of the PRC Anti-Monopoly Law (the “Draft Amendment”). If the Draft Amendment is enacted as it is, the legal consequences of the corresponding monopolistic acts would be harsher. However, we don’t know if the Draft Amendment would be enacted as it is, or there would be further revisions to the Draft Amendment, or when it would be enacted, with or without further revisions. Any failure or perceived failure by us to comply with the anti-monopoly laws and regulations may result in governmental investigations or enforcement actions, litigation or claims against us and could have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Since these statements and regulatory actions are new, and some regulations are still at the stage of consultation for comments, it is highly uncertain how soon legislative or administrative regulation making bodies will respond and what existing or new laws or regulations or detailed implementations and interpretations will be modified or promulgated, if any, or the potential impact such modified or new laws and regulations will have on our daily business operation, our ability to accept foreign investments and listing on a U.S. or other foreign exchanges. PRC laws and their interpretations and enforcement continue to develop and are subject to change, and the PRC government may adopt other rules and restrictions in the future.

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Rapid urbanization and changes in zoning and urban planning in China may cause our leased and owned hotels to be demolished, removed or otherwise affected and our franchise agreements to terminate.

China is undergoing a rapid urbanization process, and zoning requirements and other governmental mandates with respect to urban planning of a particular area may change from time to time. When there is a change in zoning requirements or other governmental mandates with respect to the areas where our hotels are located, the affected hotels may need to be demolished or removed. We have experienced such demolition and relocation in the past and we may encounter additional demolition and relocation cases in the future. For example, in 2021, we were obligated to demolish four leased hotels due to local government zoning requirements. In addition, as of December 31, 2021, we were notified by local government authorities that we may have to demolish four additional leased hotels due to local zoning requirements. Our franchise agreements typically provide that if the manachised or franchised hotels are demolished, the franchise agreements will terminate. In 2021, eight manachised hotels were demolished due to local government zoning requirements. Similar demolitions, termination of franchise agreements or interruptions of our hotel operations due to zoning or other local regulations could occur in the future. Any such further demolition and relocation could cause us to lose primary locations for our hotels and we may not be able to achieve comparable operation results following the relocations. While we may be reimbursed for such demolition and relocation, we cannot assure you that the reimbursement, as determined by the relevant government authorities, will be sufficient to cover our direct and indirect losses. Accordingly, our business, results of operations and financial condition could be adversely affected.

Governmental control of currency conversion may limit our ability to pay dividends in foreign currencies to our shareholders and therefore adversely affect the value of your investment.

We are a company incorporated in the Cayman Islands. Our ability to pay dividends depends upon, among other things, our PRC subsidiaries’ and ability to obtain and remit sufficient foreign currency. Our PRC subsidiaries must present certain documents to SAFE, its authorized branch, or the designated foreign exchange bank, before they can obtain and remit foreign currencies out of the PRC, including evidence that the relevant PRC taxes have been paid. If our PRC subsidiaries, for any reason, fail to satisfy any of the PRC legal requirements for remitting foreign currency, our ability to pay dividends would be adversely affected.

The PRC government imposes controls on the convertibility of RMB into foreign currencies and, in certain cases, the remittance of currency out of China. See “Item 4. Information on the Company — B. Business Overview — Regulation — Regulations on Foreign Currency Exchange” for discussions of the principal regulations and rules governing foreign currency exchange in China. We receive a substantial portion of our revenues in RMB. For most capital account items, approval from appropriate government authorities is required where RMB is to be converted into foreign currency and remitted out of China to pay capital expenses such as the repayment of bank loans denominated in foreign currencies. The PRC government may also at its discretion restrict access in the future to foreign currencies for current account transactions. If the foreign exchange control system prevents us from obtaining sufficient foreign currency to satisfy our currency demands, we may not be able to pay dividends in foreign currencies to our shareholders, including holders of our ADSs and ordinary shares, which would adversely affect the value of your investment.

Fluctuation in the value of the Renminbi may have a material adverse effect on your investment.

The value of the Renminbi against the U.S. dollar, Euro, Hong Kong dollar and other currencies is affected by, among other things, changes in China’s political and economic conditions and China’s foreign exchange policies.

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A significant portion of our revenues, expenses and financial assets are denominated in the Renminbi. Our reporting currency is Renminbi. The functional currencies of the entities within Deutsche Hospitality include Euro and other currencies such as Swiss Franc. Our exposure to foreign exchange risk primarily relates to cash and cash equivalents and loans denominated in U.S. dollars and Euro, and our investment in equity securities of Accor denominated in Euro. We rely substantially on dividends paid to us by our operating subsidiaries in China and Europe. Any significant depreciation of the Renminbi or Euro against the U.S. dollar may have a material adverse effect on our revenues, and the value of, and any dividends payable on, our ADSs and ordinary shares, when translated into U.S. dollars. If we decide to convert our Renminbi or Euro into U.S. dollars for the purpose of making payments for dividends on our ordinary shares or for other business purposes, depreciation of the Renminbi or Euro against the U.S. dollar or Hong Kong dollar would reduce the U.S. dollar or Hong Kong dollar amount available to us. On the other hand, to the extent that we need to convert U.S. dollars or Hong Kong dollar into Renminbi or Euro for our operations, appreciation of the Renminbi or Euro against the U.S. dollar or Hong Kong dollar would have an adverse effect on the Renminbi amount we receive from the conversion. See “Item 11. Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures about Market Risk — Foreign Exchange Risk” for discussions of our exposure to foreign currency risks. In summary, fluctuation in the value of the Renminbi in either direction could have a material adverse effect on the value of our company and the value of your investment.

In addition, because we also have operations in Europe (namely, Deutsche Hospitality) with the functional currencies of Euro and other currencies such as Swiss Franc, when the Renminbi appreciates (or depreciates) against these other functional currencies, such as Euro and Swiss Franc, our revenues from these operations could decrease (or increase) when translated into Renminbi. In general, fluctuation in the value of the Renminbi in either direction could result in the fluctuation in the value of our Company and the value of your investment.

PRC regulations relating to the establishment of offshore special purpose companies by PRC residents may subject our PRC resident shareholders to personal liability and limit our ability to inject capital into our PRC subsidiaries, limit our PRC subsidiaries’ ability to distribute profits to us, or otherwise adversely affect us.

On July 4, 2014, SAFE issued the Circular of the State Administration of Foreign Exchange on Relevant Issues concerning Foreign Exchange Administration of the Overseas Investment and Financing and Round-trip Investments by Domestic Residents through Special Purpose Vehicles, or Circular 37, which replaced the Circular on Relevant Issues Concerning Foreign Exchange Control on Domestic Residents’ Corporate Financing and Roundtrip Investment Through Offshore Special Purpose Vehicles issued by SAFE in October 2005, or Circular 75. Pursuant to Circular 37, any PRC residents, including both PRC institutions and individual residents, are required to register with the local SAFE branch before making contribution to a company set up or controlled by the PRC residents outside of the PRC for the purpose of overseas investment or financing with their legally owned domestic or offshore assets or interests, referred to in this circular as a “special purpose vehicle.” In addition, such PRC residents or entities must update their SAFE registrations when the offshore special purpose vehicle undergoes material events relating to any change of basic information (including change of such PRC citizens or residents, name and operation term), increases or decreases in investment amount, transfers or exchanges of shares, or mergers or spin-offs. In February 2015, SAFE promulgated the Notice on Further Simplifying and Improving the Administration of the Foreign Exchange Management Policies on Direct Investment, which took effect on June 1, 2015. This notice has amended SAFE Circular 37, requiring PRC residents or entities to register with qualified banks rather than SAFE or its local branch in connection with their establishment or control of an offshore entity established for the purpose of overseas investment or financing, where banks are required to review and carry out foreign exchange registration for offshore direct investments, and SAFE and its branches supervise foreign exchange registration for direct investments indirectly through the banks. See “Item 4. Information on the Company — B. Business Overview — Regulation — Regulations on Offshore Financing” for discussions of the registration requirements and the relevant penalties.

We attempt to comply, and attempt to ensure that our shareholders and beneficial owners of our shares who are subject to these rules comply, with the relevant requirements. We cannot provide any assurance that our shareholders and beneficial owners of our shares who are PRC residents have complied or will comply with the requirements imposed by Circular 37 or other related rules. Any failure by any of our shareholders and beneficial owners of our shares who are PRC residents to comply with relevant requirements under this regulation could subject such shareholders, beneficial owners and us to fines or sanctions imposed by the PRC government, including limitations on our relevant subsidiary’s ability to pay dividends or make distributions to us and our ability to increase our investment in China, or other penalties that may adversely affect our operations.

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We rely principally on dividends and other distributions on equity paid by our subsidiaries to fund any cash and financing requirements we may have, and any limitation on the ability of our subsidiaries to make payments to us could have a material adverse effect on our ability to conduct our business.

We are a holding company, and we rely principally on dividends from our subsidiaries in China for our cash requirements, including any debt we may incur. Current PRC laws and regulations permit our subsidiaries to pay dividends to us only out of their accumulated profits, if any, determined in accordance with PRC accounting standards and regulations. In addition, each of our subsidiaries in China is required to set aside a certain percentage of its after-tax earnings each year, if any, to fund certain statutory reserves. These reserves are not distributable as cash dividends. As of December 31, 2021, a total of RMB826 million (US$130 million) was not distributable in the form of dividends to us due to these PRC regulations. In addition, due to restrictions on the distribution of share capital from our PRC subsidiaries, the PRC subsidiaries’ share capital of RMB2,852 million as of December 31, 2021 is considered restricted. Furthermore, if our subsidiaries in China incur debt on their own behalf in the future, the instruments governing the debt may restrict their ability to pay dividends or make other payments to us. The inability of our subsidiaries to distribute dividends or other payments to us could materially and adversely limit our ability to grow, make investments or acquisitions that could be beneficial to our businesses, pay dividends, or otherwise fund and conduct our business.

PRC regulation of loans and direct investment by offshore holding companies to PRC entities may delay or prevent us from using the proceeds from offerings of the ADSs, ordinary shares or other securities to make loans or additional capital contributions to our PRC operating subsidiaries and VIEs.

As an offshore holding company, our ability to make loans or additional capital contributions to our PRC operating subsidiaries and VIEs is subject to PRC regulations and approvals. These regulations and approvals may delay or prevent us from using the proceeds we received in the past or will receive in the future from the offerings of ADSs, ordinary shares or other securities to make loans or additional capital contributions to our PRC operating subsidiaries and VIEs, and impair our ability to fund and expand our business which may adversely affect our business, financial condition and result of operations. For example, SAFE promulgated the Circular of the State Administration of Foreign Exchange on Reforming and Regulating Policies on the Control over Foreign Exchange Settlement Under the Capital Accounts, or Circular 16, on June 9, 2016. Under Circular 16, registered capital of a foreign-invested company settled in RMB converted from foreign currencies shall be subject to certain limitations prescribed under Circular 16. In addition, foreign-invested companies may not change how they use such capital without SAFE’s approval, and may not in any case use such capital to repay RMB loans if they have not used the proceeds of such loans.

Furthermore, any offshore funds that we use to finance our PRC entities, including the net proceeds from the offering of the ADSs, ordinary shares or other securities, are subject to the foreign investment regulations and foreign exchange regulations in the PRC. We may make loans to our PRC entities, but they are subject to approval by or registration with relevant governmental authorities in the PRC. Furthermore, the application of the proceeds under the ADSs, ordinary shares or other securities is subject to the foreign exchange regulations in the PRC. We may also decide to finance our entities by means of capital contributions. According to the relevant PRC regulations on foreign-invested enterprises in China, depending on the total amount of investment, capital contributions to our PRC operating subsidiaries and VIEs is no longer subject to the approval of the PRC Ministry of Commerce or its local branches. Instead, if we finance our PRC subsidiaries by means of additional capital contributions, these capital contributions must be filed and registered with relevant government authorities, including the Ministry of Commerce, or MOFCOM, or its local counterparts, the State Administration for Market Regulation, or SAMR, through the Enterprise Registration System and the National Enterprise Credit Information Publicity System, and SAFE. However, we cannot assure you that the regulations will always remain favorable to us. If the regulations are revised in the future or we fail to complete such registration or obtain such approvals on time, our ability to use the proceeds of the ADSs, ordinary shares or other securities and to capitalize our operations in PRC may be negatively affected, which could adversely affect our liquidity and our ability to fund and expand our business.

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We may be subject to fines and legal sanctions imposed by SAFE or other Chinese government authorities and our ability to further grant shares or share options to, and to adopt additional share incentive plans for, our directors and employees may be restricted if we or the participants of our share incentive plans fail to comply with PRC regulations relating to employee shares or share options granted by offshore special purpose companies or offshore listed companies to PRC participants.

In February 2012, the SAFE issued the Notice on Relevant Issues Concerning Foreign Exchange Control on Domestic Individuals Participating in the Stock Incentive Plan of An Overseas Listed Company, or Circular 7, which requires PRC individual participants of stock incentive plans to register with the SAFE and to comply with a series of other requirements. See “Item 4. Information on the Company — B. Business Overview — Regulation — Regulations on Foreign Currency Exchange.” We are an offshore listed company and as a result we and the participants of our share incentive plans who are PRC citizens or non-PRC citizens residing in China successively for at least one year, or, collectively, the PRC participants, are subject to Circular 7. While we completed the foreign exchange registration procedures and complied with other requirements according to Circular 7 in June 2012 and April 2019, respectively, we cannot provide any assurance that we or the PRC participants of our share incentive plans have complied or will comply with the requirements imposed by Circular 7. If we or the PRC participants of our share incentive plans fail to comply with Circular 7, we or the PRC participants of our share incentive plans may be subject to fines or other legal sanctions imposed by SAFE or other PRC government authorities and our ability to further grant shares or share options under our share incentive plans to, and to adopt additional share incentive plans for, our directors and employees may be restricted. Such events could adversely affect our business operations.

It is unclear whether we will be considered as a PRC resident enterprise under the Enterprise Income Tax Law of the PRC, and depending on the determination of our PRC resident enterprise status, if we are not treated as a PRC resident enterprise, dividends paid to us by our PRC subsidiaries will be subject to PRC withholding tax; if we are treated as a PRC resident enterprise, we may be subject to 25% PRC income tax on our worldwide income, and holders of our ADSs or ordinary shares that are non-PRC resident investors may be subject to PRC withholding tax on dividends on and gains realized on their transfer of our ADSs or ordinary shares.

On March 16, 2007, the PRC National People’s Congress passed the Enterprise Income Tax Law, and the PRC State Council subsequently issued the Implementation Regulations of the Enterprise Income Tax Law (the “Implementation Regulations”). The Enterprise Income Tax Law (last amended on December 29, 2018) and its Implementation Regulations (amended on April 23, 2019), collectively the “EIT Law”, provides that enterprises established outside of China whose “de facto management bodies” are located in China are considered resident enterprises and are therefore subject to PRC enterprise income tax at a uniform rate of 25% with respect to their income sourced from both within and outside of China. The Implementation Regulations define the term “de facto management body” as a management body that exercises substantial and overall control and management over the production and operations, personnel, accounting and properties of an enterprise.

On April 22, 2009, the State Taxation Administration, or the “STA” (previously known as State Administration of Taxation, or the “SAT”) issued the Notice Regarding the Determination of Chinese-Controlled Enterprises Registered Offshore as PRC Tax Resident Enterprises on the Basis of De Facto Management Bodies, or Circular 82. Circular 82 provides certain specific criteria for determining whether the “de facto management body” of a Chinese-controlled offshore-incorporated enterprise is located in China. In addition, the STA issued Public Announcement [2011] No. 45 in 2011 and Public Announcement [2014] No. 9 in 2014, providing more guidance on the implementation of Circular 82 and clarifying matters including resident status determination, post-determination administration and competent tax authorities. However, the above-mentioned tax circulars apply only to offshore enterprises controlled by PRC enterprises, not those invested in or controlled by PRC individuals, like our company. Currently, there are no further detailed rules or precedents applicable to us regarding the procedures and specific criteria for determining “de facto management body” for a company like us. It is still unclear if the PRC tax authorities would determine that we should be classified as a PRC resident enterprise.

Although we have not been notified that we are treated as a PRC resident enterprise, we cannot assure you that we will not be treated as a resident enterprise under the EIT Law, any aforesaid circulars or any amended regulations in the future. If we are treated as a PRC resident enterprise for PRC enterprise income tax purposes, among other things, we would be subject to the PRC enterprise income tax at the rate of 25% on our worldwide taxable income. Furthermore, if we are treated as a PRC resident enterprise, payments of dividend by us may be regarded as derived from sources within the PRC and therefore we may be obligated to withhold PRC income tax at 10% on payments of dividend on the ADSs or ordinary shares to non-PRC resident enterprise investors. In the case of non-PRC resident individual investors, the tax may be withheld at a rate of 20%.

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In addition, if we are treated as a PRC resident enterprise, any gain realized on the transfer of the ADSs and/or ordinary shares by non-PRC resident investors may be regarded as derived from sources within the PRC and accordingly may be subject to a 10% PRC income tax in the case of non-PRC resident enterprises or 20% in the case of non-PRC resident individuals. The PRC income tax on dividends and/or gains may be reduced or exempted under applicable tax treaties between the PRC and the ADS holder’s or ordinary share holder’s home country. See “Item 10. Additional Information — E. Taxation — PRC Taxation.”

If the U.S. Public Company Accounting Oversight Board is unable to inspect our auditors as required under the Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act, the SEC will prohibit the trading of our ADSs. A trading prohibition for our ADSs, or the threat of a trading prohibition, may materially and adversely affect the value of your investment. Additionally, the inability of the PCAOB to conduct inspections of our auditors deprives our investors of the benefits of such inspections.

The HFCA Act was enacted into law on December 18, 2020. Under the HFCA Act, if the SEC determines that we have filed audit reports issued by a registered public accounting firm that has not been subject to inspection by the PCAOB for three consecutive years (beginning with those we are to file in 2022), the SEC will prohibit our securities, including our ADSs, from being traded on a U.S. national securities exchange, including the NYSE, or in the over-the-counter trading market in the U.S. The process for implementing trading prohibitions pursuant to the HFCA Act will be based on a list of registered public accounting firms that the PCAOB has been unable to inspect and investigate completely as a result of a position taken by a non-U.S. government, or the Relevant Jurisdiction. The first such list was included in a release by the PCAOB on December 16, 2021, or the PCAOB December 2021 Release, and our auditor was included on that list. The SEC will review annual reports filed with it in 2022 to determine if the auditor used for such reports was so identified by the PCAOB, and such issuers will be designated as “Commission Identified Issuers” on a list to be published by the SEC. If an issuer is a Commission Identified Issuer for three consecutive years (which will be determined after the third such annual report), the SEC will issue an order that will implement the trading prohibitions described above.

Unless we are able to retain a PCAOB-registered auditor subject to PCAOB inspection and investigation, we would expect that a trading prohibition for our ADSs could be issued shortly after the filing of our annual report on Form 20-F for 2023, which would be due on April 30, 2024. Given that all PCAOB-registered firms in China were included on the list in the PCAOB December 2021 Release, our ability to retain an auditor subject to PCAOB inspection and investigation will depend on the relevant U.S. and PRC regulators reaching an agreement to permit these inspections and investigations. The PCAOB entered into a Memorandum of Understanding on Enforcement Cooperation with the CSRC and the PRC Ministry of Finance, which established a cooperative framework between the parties for the production and exchange of audit documents relevant to investigations undertaken by the PCAOB in the PRC or by the CSRC or the PRC Ministry of Finance in the United States. The PCAOB continues to be in discussions with the CSRC and the PRC Ministry of Finance to permit joint inspections of the PCAOB-registered audit firms that audit Chinese companies that trade on U.S. exchanges. However, in the PCAOB December 2021 Release, the PCAOB identified problems in implementing these agreements and a lack of cooperation. Accordingly, we can offer no assurance that we will be able to retain an auditor that would allow us to avoid a trading prohibition for our securities under the HFCA Act.

In June 2021, the United States Senate passed a bill that would amend the HFCA Act to accelerate the imposition of trading prohibitions once an issuer is identified from three years to two years, and a companion bill was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives on December 14, 2021. In February, 2022, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the America Competes Act of 2022, which includes the same amendments as the bill passed by the Senate. However, the America Competes Act includes a broader range of legislation not related to the HFCA Act in response to the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act passed by the Senate in 2021. The U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate needs to agree on amendments to these respective bills to align the legislation and pass their amended bills before the President can sign into law. It is unclear when the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives will resolve the differences in the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act and the America Competes Act of 2022 bills currently passed. If this bill amending the HFCA Act is approved by both houses of Congress and signed by the President, our securities could be subject to a trading prohibition following our filing of our annual report on Form 20-F for 2022, which will be due on May 1, 2023.

If our ADSs are subject to a trading prohibition under the HFCA Act, the price of our ADSs may be adversely affected, and the threat of such a trading prohibition would also adversely affect their price. If we are unable to be listed on another securities exchange that provides sufficient liquidity, such a trading prohibition may substantially impair your ability to sell or purchase our ADSs when you wish to do so. Furthermore, if we are able to maintain a listing or our ordinary shares on the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong or another non-U.S. exchange, investors owning our ADSs may have to take additional steps to engage in transactions on that exchange, including converting ADSs into ordinary shares and establishing non-U.S. brokerage accounts.

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The HFCA Act also imposes additional certification and disclosure requirements for Commission Identified Issuers, and these requirements will apply beginning with annual reports on Form 20-F to be filed in 2023 for Commission Identified Issuers named in the prior year. Because our auditor was included in the list in the PCAOB December 2021 Release, we expect to have to comply with these disclosure requirements in our annual report on Form 20-F for 2022 to be filed in 2023. The additional requirements include a certification that the issuer is not owned or controlled by a governmental entity in the Relevant Jurisdiction, and the additional requirements for annual reports include disclosure that the issuer’s financials were audited by a firm not subject to PCAOB inspection, disclosure on governmental entities in the Relevant Jurisdiction’s ownership in and controlling financial interest in the issuer, the names of Chinese Communist Party, or CCP, members on the board of the issuer or its operating entities, and whether the issuer’s article’s include a charter of the CCP, including the text of such charter.

In addition to the issues under the HFCA discussed above, the PCAOB’s inability to conduct inspections in China and Hong Kong prevents it from fully evaluating the audits and quality control procedures of our independent registered public accounting firm. As a result, we and investors in our ADSs and ordinary shares are deprived of the benefits of such PCAOB inspections. The inability of the PCAOB to conduct inspections of auditors in China makes it more difficult to evaluate the effectiveness of our independent registered public accounting firm’s audit procedures or quality control procedures as compared to auditors outside of China that are subject to the PCAOB inspections, which could cause investors and potential investors in our stock to lose confidence in our audit procedures and reported financial information and the quality of our financial statements.

Proceedings instituted by the SEC against the Big Four PRC-based accounting firms, including our independent registered public accounting firm, could result in financial statements being determined to not be in compliance with the requirements of the Exchange Act.

In December 2012, the SEC instituted administrative proceedings against the Big Four PRC-based accounting firms in China, including our independent PCAOB-registered public accounting firm, alleging that these firms had violated U.S. securities laws and the SEC’s rules and regulations thereunder by failing to provide to the SEC the firms’ audit work papers with respect to certain other PRC-based companies that are publicly traded in the United States.

On January 22, 2014, the initial administrative law judge presiding over the matter rendered an initial decision that each of the firms had violated the SEC’s rules of practice by failing to produce audit papers and other documents to the SEC. The initial decision censured each of the firms and barred them from practicing before the SEC for a period of six months.

On February 6, 2015, each of the four PRC-based accounting firms agreed to a censure and to pay a fine to the SEC to settle the dispute and avoid suspension of their ability to practice before the SEC and to audit US-listed companies. The settlement required the firms to follow detailed procedures and to seek to provide the SEC with access to Chinese firms’ audit documents via the CSRC. Under the terms of the settlement, the underlying proceeding against the four PRC-based accounting firms was deemed dismissed with prejudice four years after entry of the settlement. The four-year mark occurred on February 6, 2019. While we cannot predict if the SEC will further challenge the four PRC-based accounting firms’ compliance with U.S. law in connection with U.S. regulatory requests for audit work papers or if the results of such a challenge would result in the SEC imposing penalties such as suspensions, if the accounting firms are subject to additional remedial measures, our ability to file our financial statements in compliance with SEC requirements could be affected. A determination that we have not timely filed financial statements in compliance with SEC requirements could ultimately lead to our delisting from the Nasdaq, deregistration from the SEC, or both, which would substantially reduce or effectively terminate the trading of our ADSs in the United States.

In the event that the SEC restarts the administrative proceedings described above, depending upon the final outcome, listed companies in the United States with major China-based operations may find it difficult or impossible to retain auditors in respect of their operations in China, which could result in financial statements being determined not to be in compliance with the requirements of the Exchange Act, including possible delisting. Moreover, any negative news about any such future proceedings against these audit firms may cause investor uncertainty regarding China-based, U.S.-listed companies and the market price of our ADSs may be adversely affected.

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If our independent registered public accounting firm was denied, even temporarily, the ability to practice before the SEC and we were unable to timely find another registered public accounting firm to audit and issue an opinion on our financial statements, our financial statements could be determined to be not in compliance with the requirements of the Exchange Act. Such a determination could ultimately lead to the delisting of the ADSs or deregistration from the SEC, or both, which would substantially reduce or effectively terminate the trading of the ADSs in the United States.

Risks Related to Our ADSs, ordinary shares and Our Trading Market

The market prices for our ADSs and/or ordinary shares has been and may continue to be volatile.

The market price for our ADSs has been volatile and has ranged from a low of US$32.99 to a high of US$64.53 on the NASDAQ Global Select Market in 2021. Likewise, the high and low prices of our ordinary shares on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in 2021 were HK$49.3 and HK$24.4, respectively. In addition, the performance and fluctuation of the market prices of other companies with business operations located mainly in China that have listed their securities in Hong Kong S.A.R. and/or the United States may affect the volatility in the prices of and trading volumes for our ADSs and/or ordinary shares. Some of these companies have experienced significant volatility. The trading performances of these companies’ securities may affect the overall investor sentiment towards other companies with business operations located mainly in China and listed in Hong Kong S.A.R. and/or the United States and consequently may impact the trading performance of our ADSs and/or ordinary shares. The market price is subject to wide fluctuations in response to various factors, including the following:

actual or anticipated fluctuations in our quarterly operating results;
changes in financial estimates by securities research analysts;
conditions in the travel and lodging industries;
changes in the economic performance or market valuations of other lodging companies;
announcements by us or our competitors of new products, acquisitions, strategic partnerships, joint ventures or capital commitments;
addition or departure of key personnel;
fluctuations of exchange rates between the RMB and U.S. dollar, Hong Kong dollar or other foreign currencies;
potential litigation or administrative investigations;
release of lock-up or other transfer restrictions on our outstanding ADSs or ordinary shares or sales of additional ADSs or ordinary shares; and
political or market instability or disruptions, pandemics or epidemics and other disruptions to China’s economy or the global economy, and actual or perceived social unrest in the United States, Hong Kong S.A.R., Europe or other countries and regions that we operate.

In addition, the market prices for companies with operations in China in particular have experienced volatility that might have been unrelated to the operating performance of such companies. The securities of some China-based companies that have listed their securities in the United States and/or in Hong Kong have experienced significant volatility, including, in some cases, substantial declines in the market prices of their securities. The performance of the securities of these China-based companies after their offerings may affect the attitudes of investors toward Chinese companies listed in the United States and/or Hong Kong, which consequently may impact the performance of our ADSs and ordinary shares, regardless of our actual operating performance. In addition, any negative news or perceptions about inadequate corporate governance practices or fraudulent accounting, corporate structure or other matters of other China-based companies may also negatively affect the attitudes of investors towards China-based companies in general, including us, regardless of whether we have engaged in any inappropriate activities.

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The global financial crisis and the ensuing economic recessions in many countries have contributed and may continue to contribute to extreme volatility in the global stock markets, such as the large declines in share prices in the United States, China, Hong Kong and other jurisdictions at various times since 2008. These broad market and industry fluctuations may adversely affect the prices of our ADSs and/or ordinary shares, regardless of our operating performance.

An active trading market for our ordinary shares on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange might not be sustained and trading prices of our ordinary shares might fluctuate significantly.

Since our listing in Hong Kong in 2020, our ordinary shares have been traded on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. However, we cannot assure you that an active trading market for our ordinary shares on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange will be sustained. The trading price or liquidity for our ADSs on the NASDAQ Global Select Market and the trading price or liquidity for our ordinary shares on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in the past might not be indicative of those of our ordinary shares on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in the future. If an active trading market of our ordinary shares on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange is not sustained, the market price and liquidity of our ordinary shares could be materially and adversely affected.

In 2014, the Hong Kong, Shanghai and Shenzhen Stock Exchanges collaborated to create an inter-exchange trading mechanism called Stock Connect that allows international and mainland Chinese investors to trade eligible equity securities listed in each other’s markets through the trading and clearing facilities of their home exchange. Stock Connect allows certain mainland Chinese investors to trade directly in eligible equity securities listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, known as Southbound Trading. If a company’s shares are not considered eligible, they cannot be traded through Stock Connect. It is unclear whether and when the ordinary shares of our company will be eligible to be traded through Stock Connect, if at all. The ineligibility of our ordinary shares for trading through Stock Connect will affect certain mainland Chinese investors’ ability to trade our ordinary shares.

If securities or industry analysts do not continue to publish research or publish inaccurate or unfavorable research about our business, the market prices and trading volume for our ADSs and/or ordinary shares could decline.

The trading market for our ADSs and/or ordinary shares relies in part on the research and reports that equity research analysts publish about us or our business. We do not control these analysts. If research analysts do not maintain adequate research coverage or if one or more of the analysts who covers us downgrades our ADSs and/or ordinary shares or publishes inaccurate or unfavorable research about our business, the market price for our ADSs and/or ordinary shares would likely decline. If one or more of these analysts cease coverage of us or fail to publish reports on us regularly, we could lose visibility in the financial markets, which, in turn, could cause the market price or trading volume for the ADSs and/or ordinary shares to decline significantly.

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Techniques employed by short sellers may drive down the market prices of the ADSs and/or ordinary shares.

Short selling is the practice of selling securities that the seller does not own but rather has borrowed from a third party with the intention of buying identical securities back at a later date to return to the lender. The short seller hopes to profit from a decline in the value of the securities between the sale of the borrowed securities and the purchase of the replacement shares, as the short seller expects to pay less in that purchase than it received in the sale. As it is in the short seller’s interest for the price of the security to decline, many short sellers publish, or arrange for the publication of, negative opinions and allegations regarding the relevant issuer and its business prospects in order to create negative market momentum and generate profits for themselves after selling a security short. These short attacks have, in the past, led to selling of shares in the market and significant volatility of the prices of ordinary shares and/or ADSs of the targeted company. We received two short seller reports in September 2020. After receiving those reports, we immediately formed a special investigation committee, hired attorneys and conducted an internal investigation regarding the allegations in the relevant reports. Though we concluded that, subject to our ongoing internal investigations, those unfavorable allegations in the short sellers reports were untrue and without merit, the short seller reports, the volatility in the prices of our ADSs and ordinary shares, our ongoing internal investigations, as well as our responses to regulatory inquiries and relevant institutions, had diverted and could continue to divert our management’s attention. Furthermore, we had spent and could continue to spend a significant amount of resources investigating such allegations, responding to relevant regulatory inquiries and defending ourselves against any potential class action lawsuits. We cannot guarantee that we will not receive such short seller reports in the future. In the event we receive additional short seller reports in the future, our management’s attention could be diverted, which could adversely affect our business operations and administration. We may need to spend a significant amount of time and resources responding to the short selling firms and regulatory inquiries and preparing for or defending against potential class action lawsuits or derivative actions initiated by our investors and shareholders. Additionally, we may also be constrained in the manner in which we can proceed against the relevant short sellers by principles of freedom of speech, applicable laws of the relevant jurisdictions or issues of commercial confidentiality.

We may need additional capital, and the sale of additional ADSs, ordinary shares or other equity securities could result in additional dilution to our shareholders and the incurrence of additional indebtedness could increase our debt service obligations.

We believe that our current cash and cash equivalents, anticipated cash flow from operations, and funds available from borrowings under our bank facilities (including the undrawn bank facilities currently available to us and bank facilities we plan to obtain in 2022) will be sufficient to meet our anticipated working capital cash needs for at least the next 12 months. We may, however, require additional cash resources due to changed business conditions, strategic acquisitions or other future developments, including expansion through leased and owned hotels and any investments or acquisitions we may decide to pursue. If these resources are insufficient to satisfy our cash requirements, we may seek to sell additional equity or debt securities or obtain additional credit facilities. The sale of additional equity and equity-linked securities could result in additional dilution to our shareholders. The sale of substantial amounts of our ADSs and/or ordinary shares could dilute the interests of our shareholders and ADS holders and adversely impact the market prices of our ADSs and/or ordinary shares. As of December 31, 2021, we had approximately 1,757.1 million ordinary shares outstanding held as ADSs, and approximately 53.7 million non-vested restricted stocks outstanding. The conversion of some or all of the convertible senior notes will dilute the ownership interests of existing shareholders and holders of the ADSs. The incurrence of indebtedness would result in increased debt service obligations and could result in operating and financing covenants that would restrict our operations. We cannot assure you that financing will be available in amounts or on terms acceptable to us, if at all.

Due to the global outbreak of COVID-19, our business has been significantly impacted and we experienced operating losses in 2020 and 2021. Our total revenues increased by 25.4% from RMB10,196 million in 2020 to RMB12,785 million (US$2,006 million) in 2021. We recorded net loss attributable to Huazhu Group Limited of RMB465 million (US$73 million) in 2021, compared to net loss attributable to Huazhu Group Limited of RMB2,192 million in 2020. As of December 31, 2021, our current liabilities exceeded our current assets by US$898 million, which was mainly resulted from our 2022 Notes and the outstanding bank borrowing of EUR338 million in connection with our long-term facility of EUR440 million that will become due in December 2022. Our ability to continue as a going concern depends on our ability to generate cash flows from operations and to arrange adequate financing arrangements to support our working capital requirements. For more information, please see “Item 5. Operating and financial review and prospects – 5.B. Liquidity and Capital Resources.” If we are unable to continue as a going concern or achieve or maintain profitability, the market price of our ADSs may significantly decrease.

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Future sales or issuances, or perceived future sales or issuances, of substantial amounts of our ordinary shares or ADSs could adversely affect the prices of our ADSs and/or ordinary shares.

If our existing shareholders sell, or are perceived as intending to sell, substantial amounts of our ordinary shares or ADSs, including those issued upon the exercise of our outstanding stock options, the market price of our ADSs and/or ordinary shares could fall. Such sales, or perceived potential sales, by our existing shareholders might make it more difficult for us to issue new equity or equity-related securities in the future at a time and place we deem appropriate. ordinary shares held by our existing shareholders may be sold in the public market in the future subject to the restrictions contained in Rule 144 and Rule 701 under the Securities Act and the applicable lock-up agreements. If any existing shareholder or shareholders sell a substantial amount of ordinary shares after the expiration of the lock-up period, the prevailing market price for our ADSs and/or ordinary shares could be adversely affected.

In addition, certain of our shareholders or their transferees and assignees will have the right to cause us to register the sale of their shares under the Securities Act upon the occurrence of certain circumstances. Registration of these shares under the Securities Act would result in these shares becoming freely tradable without restriction under the Securities Act immediately upon the effectiveness of the registration. Sales of these registered shares in the public market could cause the prices of our ADSs and/or ordinary shares to decline.

Furthermore, we will be required to issue ADSs to holders of our convertible senior notes due 2022, or the 2022 Notes, upon their conversion of the notes. These ADS issuances’ dilutive effect on our existing shareholders’ interests in our Company may not be fully offset by the existing capped call transactions that we entered into in connection with our 2022 Notes. In addition, we have not entered into any hedging transactions to reduce the dilution to our existing shareholders upon the holders’ conversion of our convertible senior notes due 2026, or the 2026 Notes. As a result, the prevailing trading prices of our ADSs and/or ordinary shares could be adversely affected by conversions of these notes.

As our founder and co-founders collectively hold a controlling interest in us, they have significant influence over our management and their interests may not be aligned with our interests or the interests of our other shareholders.

As of March 31, 2022, our founder, Mr. Qi Ji, who is also our chairman of the board and our co-founders, Ms. Tong Tong Zhao and Mr. John Jiong Wu, in total beneficially own approximately 32.9% of our outstanding ordinary shares on an as-converted basis. See “Item 7. Major Shareholders.” The interests of these shareholders may conflict with the interests of our other shareholders. Our founder and co-founders have significant influence over us, including on matters relating to mergers, consolidations and the sale of all or substantially all of our assets, election of directors and other significant corporate actions. This concentration of ownership may discourage, delay or prevent a change in control of us, which could deprive our shareholders of an opportunity to receive a premium for their shares as part of a sale of us or of our assets and might reduce the price of our ADSs and/or ordinary shares. These actions may be taken even if they are opposed by our other shareholders, including holders of our ADSs and/or ordinary shares.

Holders of our ADSs may not receive dividends or other distributions on our ordinary shares and may not receive any value for them, if it is illegal or impractical to make them available to these holders.

The depositary of the ADSs has agreed that if it or the custodian receives any cash dividends or other distributions on our ordinary shares or other deposited securities underlying the ADSs, it will pay them to the holders of ADSs after deducting its fees and expenses pursuant to the deposit agreement. The holders of ADSs will receive these distributions in proportion to the number of ordinary shares their ADSs represent. However, the depositary or the custodian is not responsible if it decides that it is unlawful or impractical to make a distribution available to any holders of ADSs. For example, it would be unlawful to make a distribution to a holder of ADSs if it consists of securities that require registration under the Securities Act, but that are not properly registered or distributed under an applicable exemption from registration. The depositary may also determine that it is not practicable to distribute certain property. In these cases, the depositary may determine not to distribute such property. We have no obligation to register under U.S. securities laws any ADSs, ordinary shares, rights or other securities received through such distributions. We also have no obligation to take any other action to permit the distribution of ADSs, ordinary shares, rights or anything else to holders of ADSs. This means that the holders of ADSs may not receive distributions we make on our ordinary shares or any value for them if it is illegal or impractical for us to make them available to these holders. These restrictions may cause a material decline in the value of the ADSs.

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ADS holders may not have the same voting rights as the holders of our ordinary shares and generally have fewer rights than our ordinary shareholders, and must act through the depositary to exercise those rights.

Holders of ADSs do not have the same rights as our ordinary shareholders and may only exercise voting and other shareholder rights with respect to the underlying ordinary shares in accordance with the provisions of the deposit agreement. Except as described in the deposit agreement, holders of our ADSs may not be able to exercise voting rights attaching to the shares evidenced by our ADSs on an individual basis. Holders of our ADSs appoint the depositary or its nominee as their representative to exercise the voting rights attaching to the shares represented by the ADSs. ADS holders may not receive voting materials in time to instruct the depositary to vote, and it is possible that they may not have the opportunity to exercise a right to vote and/or may lack recourse if the ADSs are not voted as you requested.

Except in limited circumstances, the depositary will give us a discretionary proxy to vote our ordinary shares underlying the ADSs if holders of these ADSs do not give voting instructions to the depositary, which could adversely affect the interests of holders of ordinary shares and/or the ADSs.

Under the deposit agreement, the depositary will give us a discretionary proxy to vote the ordinary shares underlying the ADSs at shareholders’ meetings if holders of these ADSs do not give voting instructions to the depositary, unless:

we have instructed the depositary that we do not wish a discretionary proxy to be given;
we have informed the depositary that there is substantial opposition as to a matter to be voted on at the meeting;
a matter to be voted on at the meeting may adversely affect the rights of shareholders; or
voting at the meeting is made on a show of hands.

The effect of this discretionary proxy is that, if holders of ADSs fail to give voting instructions to the depositary, they cannot prevent our ordinary shares underlying their ADSs from being voted, except under the circumstances described above. This may make it more difficult for shareholders to influence our management. Holders of our ordinary shares are not subject to this discretionary proxy.

We adopt different practices as to certain matters as compared with many other companies listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

We completed our public offering and listing in Hong Kong in September 2020 and the trading of our ordinary shares on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange commenced on September 22, 2020 under the stock code “1179.” As a company listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange pursuant to Chapter 19C of the Hong Kong Listing Rules, we are not subject to certain provisions of the Hong Kong Listing Rules pursuant to Rule 19C.11, including, among others, rules on notifiable transactions, connected transactions, share option schemes, content of financial statements as well as certain other continuing obligations. In addition, in connection with the listing of our ordinary shares on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, we have been granted a number of waivers and/or exemptions from strict compliance with the Hong Kong Listing Rules, the Companies (Winding Up and Miscellaneous Provisions) Ordinance (Chapter 32 of the Laws of Hong Kong), the Code on Takeovers and Mergers and Share Buy-backs (the “Takeovers Codes”) and the Securities and Futures Ordinance (Chapter 571 of the Laws of Hong Kong) (the “SFO”). As a result, we will adopt different practices as to those matters, including with respect to the content and presentation of our annual reports and interim reports, as compared with other companies listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange that do not enjoy those exemptions or waivers. Furthermore, if 55% or more of the total worldwide trading volume, by dollar value, of our ordinary shares and ADSs over our most recent fiscal year takes place on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, the Hong Kong Stock Exchange will regard us as having a dual primary listing in Hong Kong and we will no longer enjoy certain exemptions or waivers from strict compliance with the requirements under the Hong Kong Listing Rules, the Companies (Winding Up and Miscellaneous Provisions) Ordinance (Chapter 32 of the Laws of Hong Kong), the Takeovers Codes and the SFO, which could result in our needing to undertake additional compliance activities, to devote additional resources to comply with new requirements, and our incurring of incremental compliance costs.

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ADS holders may not be able to participate in rights offerings and may experience dilution of his, her or its holdings as a result.

We may from time to time distribute rights to our shareholders, including rights to acquire our securities. Under the deposit agreement for the ADSs, the depositary will not offer those rights to ADS holders unless both the rights and the underlying securities to be distributed to ADS holders are either registered under the Securities Act, or exempt from registration under the Securities Act with respect to all holders of ADSs. We are under no obligation to file a registration statement with respect to any such rights or underlying securities or to endeavor to cause such a registration statement to be declared effective. In addition, we may not be able to take advantage of any exemptions from registration under the Securities Act. Accordingly, holders of our ADSs may be unable to participate in our rights offerings and may experience dilution in their holdings as a result.

ADS holders may be subject to limitations on transfer of their ADSs.

Our ADSs are transferable on the books of the depositary. However, the depositary may close its transfer books at any time or from time to time when it deems expedient in connection with the performance of its duties. In addition, the depositary may refuse to deliver, transfer or register transfers of ADSs generally when our books or the books of the depositary are closed, or at any time if we or the depositary deem it advisable to do so because of any requirement of law or of any government or governmental body, or under any provision of the deposit agreement, or for any other reason.

As a foreign private issuer, we are permitted to, and we will, rely on exemptions from certain NASDAQ corporate governance standards applicable to U.S. issuers, including the requirement regarding the implementation of a nominations committee. This may afford less protection to holders of our ordinary shares and ADSs.

The NASDAQ Marketplace Rules in general require listed companies to have, among other things, a nominations committee consisting solely of independent directors. As a foreign private issuer, we are permitted to, and we will, follow home country corporate governance practices instead of certain requirements of the NASDAQ Marketplace Rules, including, among others, the implementation of a nominations committee. The corporate governance practice in our home country, the Cayman Islands, does not require the implementation of a nominations committee. We currently intend to rely upon the relevant home country exemption in lieu of the nominations committee. As a result, the level of independent oversight over management of our company may afford less protection to holders of our ordinary shares and ADSs.

Our amended and restated articles of association contain anti-takeover provisions that could have a material adverse effect on the rights of holders of our ordinary shares and ADSs.

Our amended and restated articles of association contain provisions that have potential to limit the ability of others to acquire control of our company or cause us to enter into change-of-control transactions. These provisions could have the effect of depriving our shareholders of opportunities to sell their shares at a premium over prevailing market prices by discouraging third parties from seeking to obtain control of our company in a tender offer or similar transaction.

For example, our board of directors has the authority, without further action by our shareholders, to issue preferred shares in one or more classes or series and to fix their designations, powers, preferences, and relative participating, optional or other rights and the qualifications, limitations or restrictions, including, without limitation, dividend rights, conversion rights, voting rights, terms of redemption privileges and liquidation preferences, any or all of which may be greater than the rights associated with our ordinary shares, in the form of ADSs or otherwise. In the event these preferred shares have better voting rights than our ordinary shares, in the form of ADSs or otherwise, they could be issued quickly with terms calculated to delay or prevent a change in control of our company or make removal of management more difficult. If our board of directors decides to issue preferred shares, the price of our ADSs may decline and the voting and other rights of the holders of our ordinary shares and ADSs may be materially and adversely affected.

The provisions of our amended and restated articles of association may encourage potential acquirers to negotiate with us and allow our board of directors the opportunity to consider alternative proposals in the interest of maximizing shareholder value. However, these provisions may also discourage acquisition proposals or delay or prevent a change in control that could be beneficial to holders of our ordinary shares and ADSs.

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You may face difficulties in protecting your interests, and your ability to protect your rights through the U.S. federal courts or Hong Kong courts may be limited. The ability of U.S. or Hong Kong authorities to bring actions against us or our management may also be limited.

We are incorporated in the Cayman Islands, and conduct a substantial portion of our business and operations through our subsidiaries in China, the world’s largest emerging market. With the acquisition of Deutsche Hospitality in January 2020, we also operate some of our business in Germany, among other jurisdictions. Most of our officers reside outside the United States and Hong Kong and some or all of the assets of those persons are located outside of the United States and Hong Kong. It may be difficult or impossible for you to bring an action against us or against these individuals in the Cayman Islands, China, Hong Kong or Germany in the event that you believe that your rights have been infringed under the securities laws or otherwise. Even if you are successful in bringing an action of this kind outside the Cayman Islands, China, Hong Kong or Germany, the laws of the Cayman Islands, China, Hong Kong and Germany may render you unable to effect service of process upon, or to enforce a judgment against our assets or the assets of our directors and officers. There is no statutory recognition in the Cayman Islands of judgments obtained in the United States, Hong Kong, China or Germany. Although there is no statutory enforcement in the Cayman Islands of judgments obtained in the federal or state courts of the United States (and the Cayman Islands are not a party to any treaties for the reciprocal enforcement or recognition of such judgments with the United States), the courts of the Cayman Islands would recognize as a valid judgment, a final and conclusive judgment in personam obtained in the federal or state courts of the United States against the Company under which a sum of money is payable (other than a sum of money payable in respect of multiple damages, taxes or other charges of a like nature or in respect of a fine or other penalty) or, in certain circumstances, an in personam judgment for non-monetary relief, and would give a judgment based thereon provided that (a) such courts had proper jurisdiction over the parties subject to such judgment; (b) such courts did not contravene the rules of natural justice of the Cayman Islands; (c) such judgment was not obtained by fraud; (d) the enforcement of the judgment would not be contrary to the public policy of the Cayman Islands; (e) no new admissible evidence relevant to the action is submitted prior to the rendering of the judgment by the courts of the Cayman Islands; and (f) there is due compliance with the correct procedures under the laws of the Cayman Islands.

A judgment of a court of another jurisdiction may be reciprocally recognized or enforced if the jurisdiction has a treaty with China or if judgments of the PRC courts have been recognized before in that jurisdiction, subject to the satisfaction of other requirements. However, China does not have treaties providing for the reciprocal enforcement of judgments of courts with Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States and most other Western countries. There are also uncertainties as to the enforceability in Germany of civil liabilities based on the U.S. federal and state securities laws or Hong Kong laws, either in an original action or in an action to enforce a judgment obtained in U.S. courts or Hong Kong courts (as the case may be). Germany currently does not have a treaty with the U.S. or Hong Kong providing for the reciprocal recognition and enforcement of judgments, other than arbitration awards, in civil and commercial matters. German courts usually deny the recognition and enforcement of punitive damages as incompatible with the fundamental principles of German law. In addition, due to jurisdictional limitations, matters of comity and various other factors, the SEC, Department of Justice and other U.S. authorities may be limited in their ability to take enforcement actions, including in instances of fraud, against us or our directors and officers in China. In addition, shareholder claims that are common in the United States, including class action securities law and fraud claims, are generally uncommon in China.

Our corporate affairs are governed by our amended and restated memorandum and articles of association and by the Companies Act, Cap 22 (Act 3 of 1961, as consolidated and revised) (the “Companies Act”) and the common law of the Cayman Islands. The rights of shareholders to take legal action against our directors and us, actions by minority shareholders and the fiduciary responsibilities of our directors to us under Cayman Islands law are to a large extent governed by the common law of the Cayman Islands. The common law of the Cayman Islands is derived in part from comparatively limited judicial precedent in the Cayman Islands as well as from English common law, which has persuasive, but not binding, authority on a court in the Cayman Islands. The rights of our shareholders and the fiduciary responsibilities of our directors under Cayman Islands law are not as clearly established as they would be under statutes or judicial precedents in the United States and Hong Kong. In particular, the Cayman Islands has a less developed body of securities laws as compared to the United States and Hong Kong, and provides significantly less protection to investors. In addition, Cayman Islands companies may not have standing to initiate a shareholder derivative action before the federal courts of the United States or the courts of Hong Kong. Furthermore, our amended and restated articles of association are specific to us and include certain provisions that may be different from common practices in Hong Kong, such as the absence of requirements that the appointment, removal and remuneration of auditors must be approved by a majority of our shareholders.

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As a result of all of the above, our public shareholders may have more difficulty in protecting their interests through actions against our management, directors or major shareholders than would shareholders of a corporation incorporated in a jurisdiction in the United States or in Hong Kong.

It may be difficult for overseas regulators to conduct investigations or collect evidence within China.

Shareholder claims or regulatory investigations that are common in the United States generally are difficult to pursue as a matter of law or practicality in China. For example, in China, there are significant legal and other obstacles to providing information needed for regulatory investigations or litigation initiated outside China. Although the authorities in China may establish a regulatory cooperation mechanism with the securities regulatory authorities of another country or region to implement cross-border supervision and administration, such cooperation with the securities regulatory authorities in the United States may not be efficient in the absence of mutual and practical cooperation mechanisms. Furthermore, according to Article 177 of the PRC Securities Law, or Article 177, which became effective in March 2020, no overseas securities regulator is allowed to directly conduct investigation or evidence collection activities within the territory of the PRC. While detailed interpretations of or implementation rules under Article 177 have yet to be promulgated, the inability for an overseas securities regulator to directly conduct investigation or evidence collection activities within China may increase difficulties you may face in protecting your interests.

The different characteristics of the capital markets in Hong Kong and the U.S. may negatively affect the trading prices of our ordinary shares and ADSs.

We are subject to Hong Kong and NASDAQ listing and regulatory requirements concurrently. The Hong Kong Stock Exchange and the NASDAQ Global Select Market have different trading hours, trading characteristics (including trading volume and liquidity), trading and listing rules, and investor bases (including different levels of retail and institutional participation). As a result of these differences, the trading prices of our ordinary shares and/or ADSs may not be the same, even allowing for currency differences and the ADS ratio. Fluctuations in the price of our ADSs due to circumstances peculiar to the U.S. capital markets could materially and adversely affect the price of the ordinary shares, or vice versa. Certain events having significant negative impact specifically on the U.S. capital markets may result in a decline in the trading price of our ordinary shares notwithstanding that such event may not impact the trading prices of securities listed in Hong Kong generally or to the same extent, or vice versa. Because of the different characteristics of the U.S. and Hong Kong capital markets, the historical market prices of our ADSs in the NASDAQ Global Select Market may not be indicative of the trading performance of the ordinary shares in the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, and vice versa.

Exchange between our ordinary shares and our ADSs may adversely affect the liquidity and/or trading price of each other.

Our ADSs are currently traded on the NASDAQ Global Select Market. Subject to compliance with U.S. securities law and the terms of the deposit agreement, holders of our ordinary shares may deposit ordinary shares with the depositary in exchange for the issuance of our ADSs. Any holder of ADSs may also withdraw the ordinary shares underlying the ADSs pursuant to the terms of the deposit agreement for trading on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. In the event that a substantial number of ordinary shares are deposited with the depositary in exchange for ADSs, or vice versa, the liquidity and trading prices of our ordinary shares on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and our ADSs on the NASDAQ Global Select Market may be adversely affected.

The time required for the exchange between ordinary shares and ADSs may be longer than expected and investors may not be able to settle or effect any sale of their securities during this period, and the exchange of ordinary shares into ADSs involves costs.

There is no direct trading or settlement route between the NASDAQ Global Select Market and the Hong Kong Stock Exchange on which our ADSs and the ordinary shares are respectively traded. In addition, the time differences between Hong Kong and New York and unforeseen market circumstances or other factors may delay the deposit of ordinary shares in exchange of ADSs or the withdrawal of ordinary shares underlying the ADSs. Investors will be prevented from settling or effecting the sale of their securities during such periods of delay. In addition, there is no assurance that any exchange of ordinary shares into ADSs (and vice versa) will be completed in accordance with the timelines investors may anticipate.

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Furthermore, the depositary for the ADSs is entitled to charge holders fees for various services including for the issuance of ADSs upon deposit of ordinary shares, the release of ordinary shares upon cancelation of ADSs, distributions of cash dividends or other cash distributions, distributions of ADSs pursuant to share dividends or other free share distributions, distributions of securities other than ADSs and annual service fees. As a result, shareholders who exchange ordinary shares into ADSs, and vice versa, may not achieve the level of economic return the shareholders may anticipate.

We may be classified as a passive foreign investment company, which could result in adverse United States federal income tax consequences for U.S. Holders of our ADSs or ordinary shares.

Based on our financial statements and relevant market and shareholder data, we believe that we should not be treated as a passive foreign investment company (a “PFIC”) for U.S. federal income tax purposes with respect to our prior taxable year. In addition, based on our financial statements and our current expectations regarding the value and nature of our assets, the sources and nature of our income, and relevant market and shareholder data, we do not anticipate becoming a PFIC for our current taxable year. The application of the PFIC rules is subject to ambiguity in several respects and, in addition, we must make annual separate determinations each year as to whether we are a PFIC (after the close of each taxable year). The determination of whether we are or will become a PFIC will depend in part upon the value of our goodwill and other intangible assets (which will depend upon the market prices of our ADSs from time to time, which may be volatile). Among other matters, if our market capitalization declines, we may be or become a PFIC for the current or future taxable years. It is also possible that the Internal Revenue Service may challenge our classification or valuation of our goodwill and other intangible assets, which may result in our company being or becoming a PFIC for the current or one or more future taxable years. Accordingly, we cannot assure you of our PFIC status for our current taxable year or for any future taxable year. If we were treated as a PFIC for any taxable year during which a U.S. Holder held an ADS or an ordinary share, certain adverse United States federal income tax consequences could apply to the U.S. Holder (as defined herein). For a more detailed discussion of United States federal income tax consequences to U.S. Holders, see “Item 10. Additional Information—E. Taxation—United States Federal Income Taxation Consideration—Passive Foreign Investment Company Rules.”

There is uncertainty as to whether Hong Kong stamp duty will apply to the trading or conversion of our ADSs.

In connection with the public offering of our ordinary shares in Hong Kong in September 2020, or the Hong Kong IPO, we established a branch register of members in Hong Kong, or the Hong Kong share register. Our ordinary shares that are traded on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, including those issued in the Hong Kong IPO and those that may be converted from ADSs, are registered on the Hong Kong share register, and the trading of these ordinary shares on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange are subject to the Hong Kong stamp duty. To facilitate ADS-ordinary share conversion and trading between the NASDAQ Global Select Market and the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, we have moved a portion of our issued ordinary shares from our Cayman share register to our Hong Kong share register.

Under the Hong Kong Stamp Duty Ordinance, any person who effects any sale or purchase of Hong Kong stock, defined as stock the transfer of which is required to be registered in Hong Kong, is required to pay Hong Kong stamp duty. The stamp duty is currently set at a total rate of 0.26% of the greater of the consideration for, or the value of, shares transferred, with 0.13% payable by each of the buyer and the seller.

To the best of our knowledge, Hong Kong stamp duty has not been levied in practice on the trading or conversion of ADSs of companies that are listed in both the United States and Hong Kong S.A.R. and that have maintained all or a portion of their ordinary shares, including ordinary shares underlying ADSs, in their Hong Kong share registers. However, it is unclear whether, as a matter of Hong Kong law, the trading or conversion of ADSs of these dual-listed companies constitutes a sale or purchase of the underlying Hong Kong-registered ordinary shares that is subject to Hong Kong stamp duty. We advise investors to consult their own tax advisors on this matter. If Hong Kong stamp duty is determined by the competent authority to apply to the trading or conversion of our ADSs, the trading price and the value of your investment in our ADSs or ordinary shares may be affected.

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ITEM 4.INFORMATION ON THE COMPANY

4.A. History and Development of the Company

The following table illustrates the key milestones of our history and business development:

Year

    

Milestone

2005

We launched the first HanTing Hotel in Kunshan, Suzhou.

2008

We launched our budget hotel product, HanTing Hi Inn, which was subsequently rebranded as Hi Inn.

2010

Our ADSs were listed on the NASDAQ Global Selected Market.

We launched the first JI Hotel in Shanghai.

2012

We acquired a 51% equity interest in Starway HK, a midscale hotel chain, and expanded our offering to four hotel brands.

We changed our Chinese trade name from “HanTing Hotel Group” to “HuaZhu Hotel Group”.

2013

We acquired the remaining 49% equity interest in Starway HK from C-Travel International Limited.

We adopted the first proprietary cloud-based property management system in China.

2014

We entered into agreements with Accor S.A. (“Accor”) to join forces in the Pan-China region to develop Accor brand hotels and to form an extensive and long-term alliance with Accor.

We offered the first automated self-check-in or check-out kiosks in China, featuring advanced technologies such as facial recognition.

2016

We completed our transaction with Accor. For further details, please refer to the sub-sections headed “Major Acquisitions” and “Strategic Alliance with Accor” in this section.

We adopted a centralized procurement system, leveraging our Internet of Things technology, which allows all hotels across the network to make bulk purchases of hotel supplies.

2017

We completed the acquisition of all of the equity interests in Crystal Orange, which operated hotels under the brands Crystal Orange Hotel and Orange Hotel.

We issued US$475 million of 0.375% convertible senior notes due 2022.

2018

We changed our name to Huazhu Group Limited, or Huazhu.

We completed the acquisition in steps of a majority stake in Blossom Hotel Management, which was engaged in the business of operating and managing hotels under Blossom Hill Hotels & Resorts (currently Blossom House) brand in the upscale market in the PRC.

2019

We were a winner of the “2019 CIO 100 Award”, which recognized us as one of the 100 most innovative organizations worldwide that use information technology in innovative ways to deliver business value.

Our H Rewards loyalty program surpassed 150 million members.

We opened our first overseas hotel in Singapore under JI Hotel brand, which we directly operate.

2020

We completed the acquisition of all equity interest in Steigenberger Hotels AG, which was engaged in the business of operating and managing hotels under five brands, namely Steigenberger Hotels & Resorts, MAXX by Steigenberger, Jaz in the City, IntercityHotel and Zleep Hotels, primarily in Europe.

We issued US$500 million of 3% convertible senior notes due 2026.

We completed our global offering and listing on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. We issued a total of 23,485,450 ordinary shares (including 3,063,300 ordinary shares pursuant to the exercise of over-allotment option) at a public offering price of HKD297 (US$38.31) per ordinary share. Our ordinary shares started to be traded on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange on September 22, 2020. The offering size and offering price presented in this paragraph did not retroactively reflect the Share Subdivision.

We completed put right offer relating to the 2022 Notes

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Year

    

Milestone

2021

We completed the acquisition of CitiGO in May 2021, which operates hotels under the brand of CitiGO Hotel.

Our principal executive offices are located at No. 699 Wuzhong Road, Minhang District Shanghai 201103, People’s Republic of China. Our telephone number at this address is +86 (21) 6195-2011. Our registered office in the Cayman Islands is located at the offices of Cricket Square, Hutchins Drive, P.O. Box 2681, Grand Cayman, KY1-1111, Cayman Islands.

Investors should contact us for any inquiries through the address and telephone number of our principal executive offices. Our website is http://www.huazhu.com. The information contained on our website is not a part of this annual report.

SEC maintains an internet site (http://www.sec.gov), which contains reports, proxy and information statements, and other information regarding us that file electronically with the SEC.

4.B. Business Overview

We are a leading, fast-growing multi-brand hotel group in China with international operations. Our hotels are operated under three different models: leased and owned, franchised, and franchised hotels that we operate under management contracts, which we refer to as “manachised.” We expanded our hotel network from 5,618 hotels as of December 31, 2019 to 7,830 hotels (including 124 hotels under legacy DH) as of December 31, 2021, representing a CAGR of 18.1%. As of December 31, 2021, we had 7,830 hotels in operation, including 738 leased and owned hotels and 7,092 manachised and franchised hotels, with an aggregate of 753,216 hotel rooms. As of the same date, we were developing an additional 2,608 hotels, including 46 leased and owned hotels and 2,562 manachised and franchised hotels.

Brands are the bedrock of our success. In over a decade, we grew from an economy hotel chain to a multi-brand hotel group covering the full spectrum of market segments. Leveraging our consumer insights and our capability to deliver innovative and trend-setting products, we now operate a portfolio of over 20 distinct hotel brands. As an example of our success in brand-building, our mainstay HanTing Hotel brand has become a household name in China, synonymous with a comfortable stay and an affordable price. Our JI Hotel, another established brand, is one of the top-of-mind brands among all midscale hotel brands for consumers in China. Since launching Joya Hotel, our first upscale brand, in 2013, we have further expanded into the upscale market. We have also enlarged our portfolio with international midscale to upscale brands through our strategic alliance with Accor in 2016 and acquisition of Deutsche Hospitality in January 2020. By expanding our brand portfolio, we now offer not only products targeting business travelers, but also brands catering to emerging market trends and customer needs—from weekend getaways to life-enriching experiences. Our lifestyle and resort brand, Blossom House, is particularly popular among leisure travelers.

Below presents our major hotel brands by category as of the date of this annual report.

Economy hotel brands: HanTing Hotel, Ni Hao Hotel, Hi Inn, Elan Hotel, Zleep Hotels and Ibis Hotel;
Midscale hotel brands: JI Hotel, Orange Hotel, Starway Hotel, Ibis Styles Hotel and CitiGO Hotel;
Upper midscale hotel brands: Crystal Orange Hotel, IntercityHotel, Manxin Hotel, Mercure Hotel, Madison Hotel and Novotel Hotel;
Upscale hotel brands: Joya Hotel, Blossom House, Steigenberger Hotels & Resorts, MAXX by Steigenberger, Jaz in the City, and Grand Mercure; and
Luxury hotel brand: Steigenberger Icon and Song Hotels.

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Notes:

(1)We enjoy exclusive franchise rights in respect of Accor’s Mercure Hotel, Ibis Hotel and Ibis Styles Hotel brands and non-exclusive franchise rights in respect of its Grand Mercure and Novotel Hotel brands in certain regions. In addition, we have exclusive rights to operate, manage, franchise and license hotels under the Jaz in the City brand in certain regions.
(2)As of December 31, 2021, we also operated 9 other hotels and had 4 other hotels under construction, including partner hotels under Deutsche Hospitality and other hotel brands in Yongle Huazhu Hotel & Resort Group.

We have developed a vast base of loyal and engaged customers under our H Rewards loyalty program. H Rewards covers all of our brands and had more than 193 million members as of December 31, 2021. We engage with program members through multiple online and offline touch points to personalize their lodging experiences and foster strong and long-lasting relationships that inspire loyalty to our brands. H Rewards is a powerful distribution platform, enabling us to conduct lower-cost, targeted marketing campaigns and maintain a high percentage of direct sales to customers. In 2021, approximately 75% of our room-nights were sold to customers who were individual or corporate H Rewards members in legacy Huazhu.

We have developed industry-leading, proprietary technology infrastructure that enhances customer experience, increases our operational efficiency, and supports our fast growth. The core of this infrastructure is a comprehensive suite of modularized applications, including a cloud-based property management system and centralized reservation, procurement and revenue management systems. Leveraging our operational experience and technological capabilities, we have built a centralized shared service center and realized the economies of scale made possible through our enormous hotel operations. We have also undertaken a series of industry-first digitalization initiatives to optimize our hotels’ operational efficiency and cost structure and operate “smart” hotels. Our digital transformation initiative, the “Easy” series, has increased the speed and efficiency of our hotels’ entire business processes, from the moment a reservation is made until a guest checks out.

Leveraging our strong brand recognition, massive member traffic, and robust technology infrastructure, we have pioneered a business operating system designed to enhance hotel operations across all fronts. Our business operating system is the result of our years of industry know-how, and it includes innovative ideas that are first tested and refined by our leased and owned business. Subsequently, these ideas can be “plugged-and-played” by our franchisees with confidence, thus allowing us to effectively expand our hotel network in an asset-light manner. We added a net 2,212 hotels (including 124 hotels under legacy DH) from December 31, 2019 to December 31, 2021, 97.7% of which were manachised and franchised hotels. Apart from receiving franchise fees for these hotels, we also share our technology infrastructure and our vast customers base with our franchisees. In addition to extending our expertise to our manachised and franchised hotels, we can also monetize our core competencies by offering standardized and tailored SaaS and IT solutions to other hotel operators, real estate companies and service apartment providers. We believe that our distinct approach to hospitality has helped us establish a highly differentiated business model that balances scale, quality and returns.

We have recorded outstanding financial performance in recent years, although our financial performance was adversely affected by COVID-19 in 2020 and 2021. Our total revenue was RMB11,212 million, RMB10,196 million and RMB12,785 million (US$2,006 million) in 2019, 2020 and 2021, respectively. We had net income attributable to Huazhu Group of RMB1,769 million in 2019. We recorded net loss attributed to Huazhu Group of RMB2,192 million and RMB465 million (US$73 million) in 2020 and 2021, respectively. Our adjusted EBITDA (non-GAAP) amounted to RMB3,349 million, negative RMB244 million and RMB1,571 million (US$247 million) in 2019, 2020 and 2021, respectively, and our net cash provided by operating activities amounted to RMB3,293 million, RMB609 million and RMB1,342 million (US$210 million) in these respective periods.

We believe that our core competencies and proven business model well-position us to increase our share in the expanding global lodging industry and continue to deliver encouraging financial performance.

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Our Hotel Network

We operate hotels under lease and ownership, manachise and franchise models. Under the lease and ownership model, we directly operate hotels located primarily on leased properties, as well as on owned properties. Under the manachise model, we manage manachised hotels through the on-site hotel managers we appoint and collect fees from franchisees. Under the franchise model, we collect fees from franchisees but do not appoint on-site hotel managers. We have adopted a disciplined return-driven development model aimed at achieving high growth and profitability and applied consistent operational and quality standards across all of our hotels.

Our hotel network has grown rapidly. The following table sets forth the number of hotels we operated as of the dates indicated.

As of December 31,

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018

2019

2020

2021(1)

Leased and owned hotels

    

344

    

465

    

565

    

611

    

616

    

624

    

671

    

699

    

688

753

    

738

Manachised hotels

 

295

 

516

 

835

 

1,376

 

2,067

 

2,471

 

2,874

 

3,309

4,519

 

5,746

 

6,824

Franchised hotels

 

 

54

 

25

 

8

 

80

 

174

 

201

 

222

411

 

290

 

268

Total

 

639

 

1,035

 

1,425

 

1,995

 

2,763

 

3,269

 

3,746

 

4,230

5,618

 

6,789

 

7,830

(1)

Include 76 leased hotels, 48 manachised and franchised hotels operated by Deutsche Hospitality.

As of December 31, 2021, our hotel network covered 7,830 hotels spanning 811 cities in 31 provinces and municipalities across the greater China region and 16 other countries, and we also had a pipeline of hotels in these countries and regions. As of December 31, 2021, we had an additional 2,608 leased and owned as well as manachised and franchised hotels under development.

The following table sets forth a summary of all of our hotels by geographic region as of December 31, 2021.

Leased and

Manachised

Leased and

Owned Hotels

and Franchised

Owned

Manachised

Franchised

Under

Hotels Under

    

 Hotels(2)

    

Hotels(3)

    

Hotels(3)

    

Development(4)

    

Development(4)

Greater China:

Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Hangzhou

252

 

1,503

 

83

 

9

 

311

Others (including Taiwan)(5)

409

5,293

164

9

2,241

Subtotal

661

6,796

247

18

2,552

Outside Greater China:

Europe

76

15

10

28

5

Other countries(6)

 

1

 

13

 

11

 

0

 

5

Subtotal

77

28

21

28

10

Total

 

738

 

6,824

 

268

 

46

 

2,562

(1)The data in this table include hotels under governmental requisition and hotels temporarily closed following the outbreak of COVID-19. As of December 31, 2021, we had 147 hotels under governmental requisition in China.
(2)Include 76 leased hotels operated by Deutsche Hospitality and 662 leased and owned hotels operated by the rest of our Group.
(3)Include 48 manachised and franchised hotels operated by Deutsche Hospitality and 7,044 manachised and franchised hotels operated by the rest of our Group.
(4)Include hotels for which we have entered into binding leases, purchase agreements of land use right or property, or franchise agreements but that have not yet commenced operations. The inactive projects are excluded from this list according to management judgment.
(5)For our hotels in operation, include 806 cities across 29 provinces and municipalities; for our hotels under development, include 795 cities across 30 provinces and municipalities (including Taiwan).

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(6)For our hotels in operation, include Tunisia, Egypt, the UAE, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Singapore and Qatar; for our hotels under development, include Oman, the UAE, India and Cambodia.

The following table sets forth the status of our hotels under development as of December 31, 2021.

    

Pre-conversion

    

Conversion

    

Period(1)

Period(2)

Total

Leased and owned hotels

 

34

 

12

 

46

Manachised and franchised hotels

 

1,668

 

894

 

2,562

Total

 

1,702

 

906

 

2,608

(1)Includes hotels for which we have entered into binding leases or franchise agreements but of which the property has not been delivered by the respective lessors or property owners, as the case may be. The inactive projects are excluded from this list according to management judgment.
(2)Includes hotels for which we have commenced conversion activities but that have not yet commenced operations. The inactive projects are excluded from this list according to management judgment.

Among the 46 leased and owned hotels under development as of December 31, 2021, we had 34 leased and owned hotels during pre-conversion period, for which we have entered into binding leases but of which the property has not been delivered by the respective lessors, and had 12 leased and owned hotels during conversion period, for which we have commenced conversion activities but that have not yet commenced operations. The anticipated completion dates for these leased and owned hotels during conversion period range from March 2022 to December 2022. Total budgeted development costs for these leased and owned hotels during conversion period, which primarily include construction costs for leasehold improvement and the furniture and equipment for hotel operation, were RMB426 million (US$67 million), of which RMB155 million (US$24 million) was incurred as of December 31, 2021. The average development costs per square meter for completed leased and owned hotels in 2021 were approximately RMB2,700 (US$424). The franchisees are responsible for development costs for our manachised hotels and franchised hotels.

The reasons for hotel closures typically include property-related matters (such as rezoning and expiry of leases), hotel operation quality or results not meeting our requirements, and other commercial reasons.

In addition to hotels permanently closed as presented above, due to the impact of COVID-19, we also had a large number of hotels in China temporarily closed in the first quarter of 2020. As of December 31, 2021, approximately 98% of legacy Huazhu’s hotel (excluding hotels under governmental requisition) had resumed operations. During the first quarter of 2020, Chinese governmental authorities also requisitioned accumulatively 610 of our hotels in various locations for the accommodation of medical support workers and for quarantine purposes in relation to COVID-19. As of December 31, 2021, we had 147 hotels under governmental requisition in China. As COVID-19 spreads globally, the hotel operations of Deutsche Hospitality in Europe have also been adversely affected since early March 2020. Local governments in Europe imposed travel restrictions and lockdowns to contain the spread of COVID-19, and as a result, a number of our Deutsche Hospitality hotels were temporarily closed in 2020. As of December 31, 2021, all hotels of Deutsche Hospitality that were temporarily closed due to COVID-19 had resumed operation.

Leased and owned hotels

As of December 31, 2021, we had 729 leased hotels and 9 owned hotels, accounting for approximately 9.4% of our hotels in operation. We manage and operate each aspect of these hotels and bear all of the accompanying expenses. We are responsible for recruiting, training and supervising the hotel managers and employees, paying for leases and costs associated with construction and renovation of these hotels, and purchasing all supplies and other required equipment.

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Our leased hotels are located on leased properties. The terms of our leases typically range from ten to 30 years. We generally enjoy an initial two- to eight-month rent-free period. For certain of our hotels (under Deutsche Hospitality), the landlords are responsible for renovating the hotels (other than soft furnishing) and we are not required to pay rent until this renovation is completed. We generally pay fixed rent on a monthly, quarterly or biannual basis for the first three to five years of the lease term, after which we are generally subject to a 2% to 6% increase on rent every three to five years or, for Deutsche Hospitality’s hotels, generally annual adjustments based on consumer price index levels. Our leases usually allow extensions by mutual agreement. In addition, our lessors are typically required to notify us in advance if they intend to sell or dispose of their properties, in which case we have a right of first refusal to purchase the properties on equivalent terms and conditions. To mitigate the impact of COVID-19, we have been negotiating with landlords to reduce or delay our rental payment.45 of our leases expired in 2021, among which 18 were renewed, 12 were converted to manachised and franchised hotels and 15 were terminated.

The following table sets forth the number of our leases for hotels in operation and under development that were expected to expire in the periods indicated as of December 31, 2021.

    

Number of

Leases

2022

 

67

2023

 

45

2024

 

49

2025

 

50

2026

 

66

2027-2029

 

177

2030-2032

 

113

2033 and onward

 

208

Total

 

775

Manachised and Franchised Hotels

As of December 31, 2021, we had 6,824 manachised hotels and 268 franchised hotels, accounting for approximately 87.2% and 3.4%, respectively, of our hotels in operation. Our franchisees lease or own their hotel properties and are responsible for the costs of developing and operating the manachised or franchised hotels, including constructing and renovating the hotels according to our standards, and all of the hotel operating expenses. We impose the same standards on all of our manachised and franchised hotels to ensure product quality and consistency across our hotel network. Our franchisees are not allowed to sub-franchise hotels under our brands to any third party. We collect fees from the franchisees of our manachised and franchised hotels and do not bear any loss incurred or otherwise share any profit realized by our franchisees. We believe that the manachise and franchise models have enabled us to quickly and effectively expand our geographical coverage and market share in a less capital-intensive manner through leveraging the local knowledge and relationships of our franchisees.

Manachised hotels

We manage our manachised hotels and impose the same standards on all manachised hotels as our other hotels to ensure product quality and consistency across our hotel network. For our manachised hotels under legacy Huazhu, our manachise agreements typically have the following terms:

Scope of service: We authorize a manachised hotel to use our relevant brand name, logo and relevant trademarks. The franchisee is responsible for the hotel’s construction, renovation and maintenance. We provide guidance to the franchisee on the construction or renovation of the hotel and require the hotel to meet our standards before approving it to commence operations. We appoint and train hotel managers who are responsible for hiring hotel staff and managing daily operations of our manachised hotels. We also provide our franchisees with services such as central reservation, sales and marketing support, technology support, quality assurance inspections and other operational support and information.

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Fees collected: we generally charge our franchisees an upfront franchise fee typically ranging between RMB80,000 and RMB1,000,000 per hotel, as well as a monthly franchise fee of approximately 3% to 6.5% of the gross revenues generated by each manachised hotel. In addition, we collect from franchisees a reservation fee for using our central reservation system and a membership registration fee for customers who join our H Rewards (previously known as HUAZHU Rewards) loyalty program at the manachised hotels. We also charge system maintenance and support fees and other IT service fees from our franchisees for sharing our technology infrastructure with our manachised hotels. Furthermore, we employ and appoint hotel managers for the manachised hotels and charge franchisees for a manager fee on a monthly basis.

Term of service: our franchise and management agreements for our manachised hotels typically run for an initial term of eight to ten years, and may be extended upon mutual agreement between us and the franchisee three months prior to the expiration of the franchise and management agreements.

Termination: we typically have the right to early terminate the franchise and management agreements immediately, if the franchisee commences operations without our approval, goes bankrupt, suspends operation for a specified period, interferes in our appointed manager’s management of the hotel, or violates applicable laws and regulations that result in harm to our brand, among others. We are also entitled to terminate these agreements in case of material breaches of the agreements by the franchisee, if the franchisee fails to rectify within a grace period. In all of these circumstances, we can keep the franchise fee and franchise deposit collected and claim liquidated damages from the franchisee.

For our manachised hotels under Deutsche Hospitality, the franchisees have historically been required to pay Deutsche Hospitality a management fee consisting of a base fee of 0.5% to 3.5% of the hotel’s turnover and an incentive fee of 6% to 10% of the hotel’s adjusted gross operating profit. Deutsche Hospitality participates in the distribution of the manachised hotel’s profit, and charges a marketing fee for a few manachised hotels. General manager compensation of a manachised hotel, including salaries, social security contribution, and various benefits and bonuses, is borne by the manachised hotel. For some manachised hotels outside Germany, Deutsche Hospitality further charges a license fee of approximately 0.5% to 1% of the hotel’s turnover. The term of service for our manachised hotels under Deutsche Hospitality is typically 15 to 20 years. We are gradually adapting the terms of Deutsche Hospitality’s franchise and management agreements to be similar to those of our other manachised hotels.

Franchised hotels

We do not appoint hotel managers for our franchised hotels and do not manage their daily operations. We apply the same standards to our franchised hotels as our other hotels. For our franchised hotels under legacy Huazhu, the terms of the franchise agreements are subject to negotiation with individual hotel owners, while they generally have the following terms:

Scope of service: the services that we provide to franchised hotels are similar to those we provide to manachised hotels, except that we do not appoint managers and do not provide management services to the franchised hotels.

Franchise fee: we charge our franchised hotels fees on generally the same terms as our manachised hotels, except that we do not appoint hotel managers to our franchised hotels and thus do not charge these hotels hotel manager fee on a monthly basis.

Term of service: our franchise agreements for our franchised hotels typically run for an initial term of eight to ten years, and may be extended upon mutual agreement between us and the franchisee three months prior to the expiration of the franchise agreements.

Termination: our rights to terminate the franchise agreements for our franchised hotels are similar to those for our manachised hotels.

For our franchised hotels under Deutsche Hospitality, the franchisees have historically been required to pay Deutsche Hospitality a franchise fee of approximately 0.5% to 4.0% of the hotel’s gross room revenue or turnover. Some hotels outside Germany are charged a fixed franchise fee ranging from EUR40,000 to EUR150,000 per year. Most franchised hotels are also charged a central service fee (or marketing fee in older contracts) and a license fee. The term of service for our franchised hotels under Deutsche Hospitality is typically ten to 15 years. We are gradually adapting the terms of Deutsche Hospitality’s franchise agreements to be similar to those of our other franchised hotels.

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Our Products

As of the date of this annual report, we have hotels in operation or under development under the following brands, which are designed to target distinct segments of customers:

Economy hotel brands: HanTing Hotel, Ni Hao Hotel, Hi Inn, Elan Hotel, Zleep Hotels and Ibis Hotel;
Midscale hotel brands: JI Hotel, Orange Hotel, Starway Hotel, Ibis Styles Hotel and CitiGO Hotel;
Upper midscale hotel brands: Crystal Orange Hotel, IntercityHotel, Manxin Hotel, Mercure Hotel, Madison Hotel and Novotel Hotel;
Upscale hotel brands: Joya Hotel, Blossom House, Steigenberger Hotels & Resorts, MAXX by Steigenberger, Jaz in the City, and Grand Mercure; and
Luxury hotel brand: Steigenberger Icon and Song Hotels.

We have entered into brand franchise agreements with Accor and enjoyed exclusive franchise rights in respect of Mercure Hotel, Ibis Hotel and Ibis Styles Hotel in the PRC, Taiwan and Mongolia and non-exclusive franchise rights in respect of Grand Mercure and Novotel Hotel in the PRC, Taiwan and Mongolia. Through our acquisition of Deutsche Hospitality, we have obtained exclusive rights to construct, operate, manage, franchise and license hotels under the Jaz in the City brand in China, South East Asia, Japan, South Korea and Europe subject to certain exceptions, and non-exclusive rights to operate, manage, franchise and license certain hotels under the Jaz in the City brand in certain other countries and regions, such as Tunisia, Cape Verde, the UAE and Egypt.

As of December 31, 2021, we also operated 9 other hotels, including partner hotels under Deutsche Hospitality and other hotels under other hotel brands in Yongle Huazhu Hotel & Resort Group.

We believe that our multi-brand strategy provides us with a competitive advantage to open more hotels in attractive markets, capture a wider range of customers with evolving lodging preferences and needs, and achieve greater economies of scale through shared platforms.

Economy Hotel Brands

HanTing Hotel

Launched in 2005, HanTing Hotel is our economy hotel product with the value proposition of “Quality, Convenience and Value.” HanTing Hotels also includes hotels we previously marketed under the name of Hanting Premium Hotels. These hotels are typically located in areas close to major business and commercial districts. The HanTing Hotel targets knowledge workers and value- and quality-conscious travelers. These hotels are equipped with complimentary wireless Internet access and laser printers, and a cafe serving breakfast and simple meals. As of December 31, 2021, we had 3,027 HanTing Hotels in operation and an additional 696 HanTing Hotels under development.

Ni Hao Hotel

Ni Hao Hotel is our economy hotel product targeting young customers. By digitalizing and standardizing independent hotels, it helps improve their operational efficiency while maintaining their individual features. Ni Hao Hotels provide clean and comfortable lodging experiences to the guests at affordable prices. As of December 31, 2021, we had 163 Ni Hao Hotels under development and had 70 Ni Hao Hotel in operation.

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Hi Inn

Launched in late 2008 and originally marketed under the name of HanTing Hi Inn, Hi Inns target rational and price-conscious travelers. These hotels offer compact rooms with comfortable beds and shower facilities and complimentary wireless Internet access throughout the premises. These hotels provide basic and clean accommodations. As of December 31, 2021, we had 443 Hi Inns in operation and an additional 117 Hi Inns under development.

Elan Hotel

In September 2014, we launched Elan Hotel. Elan Hotel is our economy hotel product committed to improving the operating efficiency of individual micro, small- and medium-sized economy hotels. With the continuing upgrade of accommodations and services, these hotels provide a high quality experience for young customers. As of December 31, 2021, we had 1,013 Elan Hotels in operation and an additional 190 Elan Hotels under development.

Ibis Hotel

Ibis Hotel is an economy hotel brand that is recognized across the world for its quality, reliability and commitment to the environment. It created the revolutionary bedding concept Sweet Bed by Ibis Hotel, and features welcoming, designer common areas and ibis kitchen, the modern food and beverage offer. As of December 31, 2021, we had 219 Ibis Hotels in operation and an additional 28 Ibis Hotels under development.

Zleep Hotels

Zleep Hotels, our economy hotel brand, is a well-known and successful hotel brand in Scandinavia offering service and design at a great rate. As of December 31, 2021, we had 14 Zleep Hotels in operation and an additional twelve Zleep Hotels under development.

Midscale Hotel Brands

JI Hotel

JI Hotel is a midscale brand that we launched in 2010, typically located in city centers or central business districts. These hotels target travelers who seek a quality experience in hotel stays. JI Hotels offer rooms with quality comparable to three- to four-star rated hotels, but are priced at competitive rates. In addition, these hotels offer complimentary wireless Internet access throughout the premises, spacious lobbies with laser printers, computers, free drinks, and a cafe serving breakfast and simple meals. As of December 31, 2021, we had 1,381 JI Hotels in operation and an additional 575 JI Hotels under development.

Orange Hotel

Orange Hotel, previously marketed under two brand names: Orange Hotel and Orange Select Hotel, is our midscale hotel brand. These hotels are mini versions of our Crystal Orange Hotels with advanced sound-proof design. As of December 31, 2021, we had 432 Orange Hotels in operation and an additional 217 Orange Hotels under development.

Starway Hotel

Starway Hotel, our midscale brand, varies in the hotels’ designs and targets middle class travelers who seek a spacious room, reasonable price and guaranteed quality. Starway Hotels offer rooms with quality comparable to three- to four-star rated hotels, but are priced at competitive rates. In addition, these hotels typically offer complimentary Internet access throughout the premises, spacious lobbies and meeting areas with complimentary tea and coffee. As of December 31, 2021, we had 528 Starway Hotels in operation and an additional 252 Starway Hotels under development.

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Ibis Styles Hotel

Ibis Styles Hotel is a midscale brand that offers comfortable, designer hotels typically located in city centers or close to activity centers. The brand’s distinctive all-inclusive package includes the room, all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet and broadband Internet connection, plus a host of little extras. As of December 31, 2021, we had 79 Ibis Styles Hotels in operation and an additional 21 Ibis Styles Hotels under development.

CitiGO Hotel

CitiGO Hotel is a lifestyle brand that mainly targets young people. Crafted by internationally prestigious designers, CitiGO blends travel, sports and urban culture together to provide guests with unique lodging experience. With the concept of entry lux, fashion, social life and fun, CitiGO offers trendy hospitality with affordable price. The hotel restaurant provides extra-long breakfast from 7:00 am to 12:00 pm, fresh coffee, craft beer and free late-night snack. As of December 31, 2021, we had 30 CitiGO Hotels in operation, and an additional 7 CitiGO Hotels under development.

Upper Midscale Hotel Brands

Crystal Orange Hotel

Crystal Orange Hotel is our upper midscale hotel brand featuring boutique design hotels. These hotels are equipped with advanced, four-star standard facilities, including free high-speed wireless internet access, intelligent lighting system, wireless speakers and sound-proof design. As of December 31, 2021, we had 144 Crystal Orange Hotels in operation and an additional 58 Crystal Orange Hotels under development.

IntercityHotel

IntercityHotel is our upper midscale urban hotel brand targeting business travelers. The hotels of IntercityHotel are usually located within walking distance of train stations or airports. As of December 31, 2021, we had 49 IntercityHotels in operation and an additional 25 IntercityHotels under development, including two hotels in operation and eight pipeline hotels in China.

Manxin Hotel

Manxin Hotel was launched as an upper midscale brand of resorts in October 2013, and was previously branded as Manxin Hotel & Resorts. Nowadays Manxin Hotel has become a brand with city hotels and resorts. These hotels are typically located in city centers or business districts and holiday resort areas. Manxin Hotels offer high quality rooms, intelligent service system, rich breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea, dinner and even coffee and drinks. Moreover, Manxin Hotel is aimed at bringing the guests a distinct experience by presenting amazing space design and offering attractive activities. Live Lively is Manxin Hotel’s proposition. As of December 31, 2021, we had 84 Manxin Hotels in operation and an additional 62 Manxin Hotels under development.

Mercure Hotel

Mercure Hotel is an upper midscale hotel brand that combines the strength of an international network with a strong quality commitment with the warm experiences of hotels that are rooted in their local community, targeting business and leisure travelers around the world. These hotels are typically located in city centers, by the sea or in the mountains. As of December 31, 2021, we had 125 Mercure Hotels in operation and an additional 50 Mercure Hotels under development.

Madison Hotel

We launched our new upper midscale hotel brands Madison Hotel and Grand Madison Hotel in 2019, which are committed to offering guests a classic lodging experience. In 2020, we merged the Grand Madison Hotel brand into the Madison Hotel brand. These hotels target business and leisure guests with high lodging standards and desire to understand more of the cities they are traveling in, and offer comfortable accommodations, functional furnishings and facilities, and high-quality services. As of December 31, 2021, we had 37 Madison Hotels in operation, and an additional 56 Madison Hotels under development.

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Novotel Hotel

Novotel is an upper midscale brand that provides a multi-service offering for both business and leisure guests, with spacious, modular rooms, 24/7 catering offers with balanced meals, meeting rooms, attentive and proactive staff, kid areas, multi-purpose lobbies and fitness centers. These hotels are typically located in the heart of major international cities, business districts and tourist destinations. As of December 31, 2021, we had 15 Novotel Hotels in operation and an additional 13 Novotel Hotels under development.

Upscale Hotel Brands

Joya Hotel

In December 2013, we launched our upscale brand Joya Hotel. These hotels are typically located in areas close to major business and commercial districts in first- and second-tier cities and target affluent travelers and corporate events. Joya Hotel is designed for guests to enjoy all-inclusive services, including complimentary breakfast, afternoon tea, healthy snacks, mini bar free drinks, gym, automatic massage cabins and other premium services. The rooms are equipped with high-speed fiber access, full wireless coverage and Bluetooth speakers. As of December 31, 2021, we had nine Joya Hotels in operation.

Blossom House

Blossom House, previously branded Blossom Hill Hotels & Resorts, is our upscale lifestyle and resort brand targeting affluent travelers. Most of Blossom House hotels are located near typical scenic spots. As of December 31, 2021, we have 34 Blossom House hotels in operation and an additional 39 Blossom House hotels under development.

Steigenberger Hotels & Resorts

Steigenberger Hotels & Resorts is our upscale lifestyle and resort brand targeting affluent travelers. The Steigenberger Hotels & Resorts hotels are typically located in historic traditional buildings and lively city residences, and offer health and beauty oases set at the very heart of nature. As of December 31, 2021, we had 56 Steigenberger Hotels & Resorts in operation and an additional 10 Steigenberger Hotels & Resorts under development, including 11 hotels in operation and five pipeline hotels in China.

MAXX by Steigenberger

MAXX by Steigenberger, our upscale conversion hotel brand, is a new, charismatic concept and focuses on creating a warm, feel-good atmosphere in all destinations. As of December 31, 2021, we had seven MAXX by Steigenberger hotels in operation and six MAXX by Steigenberger hotel under development, including two hotels in operation and five pipeline hotels in China.

Jaz in the City

Jaz in the City is our upscale lifestyle brand. Jaz in the City branded hotels reflect metropolitan lifestyle and draw upon the local music and cultural scene. As of December 31, 2021, we have three Jaz in the City hotels in operation and one Jaz in the City hotels under development.

Grand Mercure

Grand Mercure is a brand that offers an upscale network of hotels and apartments that combine local culture with world-class services. With hotels that are uniquely adapted to each market, the brand helps guests “discover a new authentic”. As of December 31, 2021, we had seven Grand Mercure Hotels in operation and additional three Grand Mercure Hotels under development.

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Luxury Hotel Brand

Steigenberger Icon

Steigenberger Icon is our new brand. It is our first brand under luxury level, a prestigious level we granted only to our most legendary Steigenberger hotels. Our Icon hotels situate at some of the world’s most privileged destinations, each Icon hotel tells its own inimitable story and provides customers with unique lodging experience with the concept of luxury, heritage and simplicity. As of December 31, 2021, we had nine Steigenberger Icon Hotels in operation and additional two Steigenberger Icon Hotels under development.

Song Hotels

Song Hotels is our luxury hotel brand designed for high-end vacation experience. The development of this brand is inspired by culture and the delicate aesthetics from Song dynasty. Song hotels convey a leisure and elegant lifestyle to its guests through the use of the exquisite decoration and meticulous service. Simple but elegant artistic furnishings and garden landscape can be seen everywhere in the hotel. As of December 31, 2021, we had six Song Hotels in operation and additional one Song Hotels under development.

Hotel Development

We mainly use the manachise and franchise models to expand our network in a less capital-intensive manner. We also lease the properties of the hotels we operate. Other than the properties we acquired as part of our strategic alliance with Accor in 2016, and from our acquisition of Blossom Hotel Management, we typically do not acquire properties ourselves, as owning properties is generally much more capital intensive. We have adopted a systematic process with respect to the planning and execution of new development projects. Our development department analyzes economic data by city, field visit reports and market intelligence information to identify target locations in each city and form a three-year development plan for new hotels on a regular basis. The plan is subsequently reviewed and approved by our investment committee. Once a property is identified in the targeted location, staff in our development department analyzes the business terms and formulates a proposal for the project. In the case of a lease opportunity, the investment committee evaluates each proposed project based on several factors, including the length of the investment payback period, the rate of return on the investment, the amount of net cash flow projected during the operating period and the impact on our existing hotels in the vicinity. When evaluating potential manachising and franchising opportunities, the investment committee considers the attractiveness of the location as well as additional factors such as quality of the prospective franchisee and product consistency with our standards. Our investment committee weighs each investment proposal carefully to ensure that we can effectively expand our coverage while concurrently improving our profitability.

The following is a description of our hotel development process.

Manachised and franchised hotels

We open manachised and franchised hotels to expand our geographical coverage or to further penetrate in our existing markets. Manachised and franchised hotels provide us valuable operating information in assessing the attractiveness of new markets, and supplement our coverage in areas where the potential franchisees can have access to attractive locations by leveraging their own assets and local network. As is the case with leased and owned hotels, we generally look to establish manachised and franchised hotels near popular commercial and office districts that tend to generate stronger demand for hotel accommodations. Manachised and franchised hotels must also meet specified criteria in connection with the infrastructure of the building, such as adequate water, electricity and sewage systems.

We typically source potential franchisees through word-of-mouth referrals, applications submitted via our website and industry conferences. Some of our franchisees operate several of our manachised and franchised hotels. In general, we seek franchisees who share our values and management philosophies.

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We typically supervise the franchisees in designing and renovating their properties pursuant to the same standards required for our leased and owned hotels, and provide assistance as required. We also provide technical expertise and recommend pre-selected qualified suppliers to our franchisees. In addition, we appoint or train hotel managers and help train other hotel staff for our manachised hotels to ensure that high quality and consistent services are provided throughout all our hotels.

Leased and owned hotels

We seek properties that are in central or highly accessible locations in economically more developed cities in order to maximize the room rates that we can charge. In addition, we typically seek properties that will accommodate hotels of 80 to 300 rooms.

After identifying a proposed site, we conduct thorough due diligence and typically negotiate leases concurrently with the lessors. All leases and development plans are subject to the final approval of our investment committee. Once a lease agreement has been executed, we then engage independent design firms and construction companies to begin work on leasehold improvement. Our construction management team works closely with these firms on planning and architectural design. Our contracts with construction companies typically contain warranties for quality and requirements for timely completion of construction. Contractors or suppliers are typically required to compensate us in the event of delays or poor work quality. A majority of the construction materials and supplies used in the construction of our new hotels are purchased by us through a centralized procurement system.

Hotel Management

Our management team has accumulated significant experience with respect to the operation of hotels. Building on this experience, our management team has developed a robust operational platform for our nationwide operations, implemented a rigorous budgeting process, and utilized our real-time information systems to monitor our hotel performance. We believe these systems are critical in maximizing our revenues and profitability. The following are some of the key components of our hotel management infrastructure:

Budgeting. Our budget and analysis team prepares a detailed annual cost and revenue budget for each of our leased and owned hotels, and an annual revenue budget for each of our manachised and franchised hotels. The hotel budget is prepared based on, among other things, the historical operating performance of each hotel, the performance of comparable hotels and local market conditions. We may adjust the budget upon the occurrence of unexpected events that significantly affect a specific hotel’s operating performance. In addition, our compensation scheme for managers in each hotel is directly linked to its performance against the annual budget.

Pricing. The room rates of our leased and owned hotels as well as manachised hotels are determined using a centralized RMS. We adjust room rates regularly based on seasonality and market demand. We also adjust room rates for certain events, such as the China Import and Export Fair held twice a year in Guangzhou, the World Expo in Shanghai in 2010 and public health events such as COVID-19. Room rates for our franchised hotels are determined by the franchisees based on local market conditions.

Monitoring. Through our cloud-based property management system, we are able to monitor each hotel’s occupancy status, average daily room rates, RevPAR and other operating data on a real-time basis. Real-time hotel operating information allows us to adjust our sales efforts and other resources to rapidly capitalize on changes in the market and to maximize operating efficiency.

Centralized cash management. Our leased and owned hotels deposit cash into our central account several times a week. We also generally centralize all payments for expenditures. Our manachised and franchised hotels manage their cash separately.

Centralized procurement. We have implemented a centralized procurement system to cope with our large procurement requirements. Given the scale of our hotel network and our centralized procurement system, we have the purchasing power to secure favorable terms from suppliers for all of our hotels.

Quality assurance. We have formed detailed brand standards on hotel facilities and interior decoration for us and our franchisees to follow. We have also developed an operating manual to which our staff closely adhere to ensure the consistency and quality of our customer experience. We conduct periodic internal quality checks of our hotels to ensure that our operating policies and procedures are followed. We also engage “mystery guests” from time to time to ensure that we are providing consistent quality services. Furthermore, we actively solicit customer feedback by conducting outbound e-mail surveys and monitor comments posted on our website and third-party websites.

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Training. We view the quality and skill sets of our employees as essential to our business and thus have made employee training one of our top priorities. Our Research and Study Center of Huazhu Group, previously known as HanTing College and HuaZhu University, together with our regional management teams, offers structured training programs for our hotel managers, other hotel-based staff and corporate staff. Our hotel managers are required to attend a three-week intensive training program, covering topics such as our corporate culture, team management, sales and marketing, customer service, hotel operation standards and financial and human resource management. A substantial number of our hotel managers have received training completion certificates. Our Research and Study Center of Huazhu Group has prepared a new-hire training package to standardize the training for hotel-based staff across our hotel group. In addition, we provide our corporate staff with various training programs, such as managerial skills, office software skills and corporate culture. In 2021, our hotel-based staff and corporate staff on average received approximately 68 and 48 hours of training, respectively.

Technology Infrastructure and Digitalization

We have successfully developed and implemented an advanced proprietary and scalable group-level technology infrastructure, as well as complete suite of hotel-level digital transformation initiatives. They cover our hotel operations by leveraging advanced technologies such as algorithms, big data analytics, data mining, AI, machine learning and IoT. These facilities enable us to improve the efficiency of our operations, make timely decisions and enhance our profitability.

As part of the 500-day IT integration program for our acquired Deutsche Hospitality, we also have deployed our in-house developed applications to Deutsche Hospitality to improve its operational efficiency and enrich its customer experiences.

A Global Business Integration Project was also launched in 2021, which combines Huazhu’s fast development and digital expertise with Deutsche Hospitality’s service excellence, international know-how and network. The aim is to collaboratively adapt the existing systems and to develop new business models, platforms and tools to support Huazhu in becoming one of the fastest developing and best performing hotel owner, operator and franchisor in the international market.

The following discusses certain key aspects of our technology infrastructure as well as our digitalization initiatives:

Technology Infrastructure

Customer relationship management (CRM) system. Our integrated CRM system maintains information of our H Rewards members, including their reservation and consumption history and pattern, points accumulated and redeemed, and prepayment and balance. By closely tracking and monitoring member information and behavior, we are able to better serve the members of our loyalty program and offer targeted promotions to enhance customer loyalty. The CRM system also allows us to monitor the performance of our corporate client sales representatives.

Central reservation system (CRS). We have an around-the-clock, real-time central reservation system available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Our central reservation system allows reservations through multiple channels including our mobile apps, call center, third-party travel agents and online reservation partners. The real-time inventory management capability of the system improves the efficiency of reservations, enhances customer satisfaction and maximizes our profitability.

Centralized revenue management system (RMS). Our RMS is the first in-house developed, large scale, fully automated RMS in China’s hotel industry. Powered by in-house developed algorithms and AI, our RMS automatically adjusts room rates of all hotels within our hotel network (including directly operated hotels, manachised hotels and franchised hotels) in a centralized manner at the group level or the business unit level, based on the historical operating performance of each hotel, our competitors’ room rates and local market conditions within minutes, effectively optimizing the hotel’s average daily room rates and occupancy levels. We believe our centralized pricing system enhances our ability to adjust room rates in a timely fashion with a goal of optimizing average daily room rates and occupancy levels across our network.

Centralized procurement system (CPS). Leveraging Internet of Things (“IoT”) technology, our CPS is one of the first and one of the largest centralized procurement systems in China’s lodging industry in terms of total purchase. Our CPS has enabled us to efficiently manage our operating costs, especially with respect to supplies used in large quantities, and allows all hotels across our network to make bulk purchases of hotel supplies at the same time.

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Digitalization Initiatives

Cloud-based property management system (Cloud-PMS). A property management system, or PMS, is a hotel management software suite that hotel managers and front desk staff use to manage every hotel’s daily business operations. Our Cloud-PMS is a cloud-based, hotel-level application that is empowered by, and seamlessly integrated with, our centralized technology infrastructure (which is comprised of our RMS and other group-level modules). Unlike onsite-PMSs which require significant upfront hardware investment and are costly and time-consuming to upgrade, our cloud-based PMS is highly scalable and enables the simultaneous launch of new services across all of our hotels. This system enables each hotel within our network to efficiently and cost-effectively manage its room inventory, reservations and pricing on its own on a real-time basis through an Internet browser, which in turn optimizes each hotel’s occupancy rate, average daily room rates and revenues generated per available room, or RevPAR. The system is designed to enable us to enhance our profitability and compete more effectively by integrating with our CRS and CRM. We believe our Cloud-PMS has enabled our management to more effectively assess the performance of our hotels on a timely basis and to efficiently allocate resources and effectively identify specific market and sales targets.

“Easy” series. We have implemented an “Easy” series digital system to improve our hotel’s operating efficiency. For example, our “Easy House Keeping” digital system, which is the first of its kind in the industry, streamlines and digitizes various hotel housekeeping processes, including room cleaning, room status update and maintenance, which in turn reduces the time between check-out and check-in of a hotel room, increasing hotel room turnover efficiency. This system features an in-house developed, designated mobile application which automatically assigns cleaning or maintenance staff to a room that requires cleaning or repairs. In addition, our “Easy Invoicing” digital system greatly simplifies the check-out process for business travelers.

Self-check-in/out kiosks. Our user-friendly, patented self-check-in/out kiosks, featuring advanced technologies such as facial recognition, offer a completely automated replacement of the standard check-in/out services.

Digital payment initiatives. We currently offer a variety of convenient digital payment options for our hotel guests, including online credit card payment, Alipay, WeChat Pay and Apple Pay.

Smart robots. We are one of the first hotel groups in China that have achieved large-scale deployment of smart robots. These AI-powered smart robots, which we co-developed with a third-party technology company, can travel the entire hotel to make deliveries of snacks, toiletries and other hotel amenities, greet guests and lead them to their rooms, improving both the hotel’s operating efficiency and guest experience.

AI assistant. Our intelligent AI assistant, which we co-developed with a well-known third-party intelligent speech and AI service provider, is the first AI assistant in China’s hotel industry. Embedded in our mobile apps, our intelligent AI assistant can engage in conversation with hotel guests and answer their queries, thereby enhancing guest experience.

Smart rooms. A number of other smart features of our hotel rooms also help enhance the quality of guests’ stay. For example, one of our AI initiatives, “Hello Huazhu,” also enables voice control of room facilities such as lights, TV, air-conditioning and window shades.

Complimentary Wi-Fi. We were one of the first in China to offer complimentary Wi-Fi to all hotel guests in 2013. This initiative has greatly contributed to the growth of our customer base and has become mainstream in the industry.

Privacy and Data Security

We place a strong emphasis on data security. We have established an information security committee, which focuses on ensuring the security of customer data and preventing data leakage by formulating policies and procedures and providing us with data protection related guidance. We also have a dedicated information security center equipped with personnel specialized in data security, compliance and risk management. This center is involved in key aspects of our business operations and provides other departments with professional data security and risk management services.

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We have in place extensive policies, processes, network architecture, and software to protect customer data. Our major systems, including those regarding property management, customer relationship management, as well as our website and mobile apps, have passed the Level III information security protection assessment conducted by the China National Accreditation Service for Conformity Assessment. We have also obtained the ISO27001 information security management certification and the ISO27701 privacy information management certification. Our payment system has passed the payment card industry (“PCI”) data security standard (“DSS”) requirements and security assessment procedures assessment. In addition, we collaborate with renowned consulting companies to strengthen the infrastructure of our information technologies and systems and to ensure compliance with data protection laws and regulations in the EU and China, such as the EU’s GDPR (as complemented by the German Federal Data Protection Act).

We collect personal information of our guests customarily required for their hotel booking, check-ins and check-outs, including their names, ID numbers, mobile phone numbers and email addresses. All of the guests’ personal information is classified as the most confidential data in our data security system. We have implemented stringent protocols to keep these data strictly confidential. We have a dedicated team of professionals who conduct regular security testing on our systems and address system errors and bugs; and a dedicated maintenance team for the maintenance of our systems, servers and databases. We also collaborate with renowned information security companies regarding 24/7 system monitoring, emergency response, and other expert consultation, to further strengthen our data security.

Sales and Marketing

Our marketing strategy is designed to enhance our brand recognition and customer loyalty. Building and differentiating the brand image of each of our hotel products is critical to increasing our brand recognition. We focus on targeting the distinct guest segments that each of our hotel products serves and adopting effective marketing measures based on thorough analysis and application of data and analytics. In 2021, approximately 83% of our room nights were sold through our own sales channels and the remaining 17% of our room nights through intermediaries in legacy Huazhu.

We use our RMS and Cloud-PMS systems to conduct pricing management for all of our hotels except for our franchised hotels. We review our hotel pricing regularly and adjust room rates as needed based on local market conditions and the specific location of each hotel, focusing mainly on three factors: (i) optimum occupancy rate of the hotel and our other hotels nearby, (ii) seasonal demand for the hotel and (iii) event-driven demand for the hotel.

A key component of our marketing efforts is the H Rewards, our loyalty program, which covers all of our brands. We believe the H Rewards loyalty program allows us to build customer loyalty and conduct lower-cost, targeted marketing campaigns. As of December 31, 2021, our H Rewards had more than 193 million members. In 2021, approximately 75% of our room nights were sold to our H Rewards members in legacy Huazhu. Members of the H Rewards are provided with discounts on room rates, free breakfasts (for gold and platinum members), more convenient check-out procedures and other benefits. H Rewards members can also accumulate points through stays in our hotels or by purchasing products and services provided at our hotels and from Hua Zhu Mall. These points can be used to offset the room charges in our hotels, buy products in Hua Zhu mall, book transportations and tickets through our platform or be redeemed for various coupons. The H Rewards includes five levels of membership: star, silver, rose gold, gold and platinum. Rose gold membership is only available for corporate members of the H Rewards. H Rewards was previously known as HanTing Club and HuaZhu Club.

Our marketing activities also include internet advertising, press and sponsored activities held jointly with our corporate partners and advertisements on travel and business magazines.

Competition

The hotel industry in China is highly fragmented. A significant majority of the room supply has come from independent hotels, guest houses and other lodging facilities. In recent years hotel groups emerged and began to consolidate the market by converting independent hotels into hotel chains. As a multi-brand hotel group we believe that we compete primarily based on location, room rates, brand recognition, quality of accommodations, geographic coverage, service quality, range of services, guest amenities and convenience of the central reservation system. We primarily compete with other hotel chains as well as various independent hotels in each of the markets in which we operate, including Chinese hotel groups such as BTG Homeinns and Jinjiang, as well as international hotel groups such as Marriot, Intercontinental, Accor, Hilton and OYO. We also face competition from Airbnb and service apartments.

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Intellectual Property

We regard our trademarks, copyrights, domain names, trade secrets and other intellectual property rights as critical to our business. We rely on a combination of copyright and trademark law, trade secret protection and confidentiality agreements with our employees, lecturers, business partners and others, to protect our intellectual property rights.

The trademarks and logos used in our current hotels are under protection of the registered trademarks and logos. As of December 31, 2021, we registered 1,111 trademarks and logos with the China Trademark Office. As of December 31, 2021, we filed 157 trademark applications pending for examination and review by the PRC trademark office. As of the same date, we also registered 1,004 trademarks and filed 250 trademark applications outside China. As of December 31, 2021, we received 22 patents; another 7 patents were applied and under review by relevant PRC authority. We also received copyright registration certificates for 140 software programs developed by us as of December 31, 2021. In addition, we registered 894 national and international top-level domain names, including www.huazhu.com, as of December 31, 2021. Our intellectual property is subject to risks of theft and other unauthorized use, and our ability to protect our intellectual property from unauthorized use is limited. In addition, we may be subject to claims that we have infringed the intellectual property rights of others. See “Item 3. Key Information — D. Risk Factors — Risks Related to Our Business — Failure to protect our tradenames and trademarks as well as other intellectual property rights could have a negative impact on our brands and adversely affect our business.”

Insurance

We believe that our hotels are covered by adequate property and liability insurance policies with coverage features and insured limits that we believe are customary for similar companies in China. We also require our franchisees to carry adequate property and liability insurance policies. We carry property insurance that covers the assets that we own at our hotels. Although we require our franchisees to purchase customary insurance policies, we cannot guarantee that they will adhere to such requirements. If we were held liable for amounts and claims exceeding the limits of our insurance coverage or outside the scope of our insurance coverage, our business, results of operations and financial condition may be materially and adversely affected. See “Item 3. Key Information — D. Risk Factors — Risks Related to Our Business — Our limited insurance coverage may expose us to losses, which may have a material adverse effect on our reputation, business, financial condition and results of operations.”

Legal and Administrative Proceedings

In the ordinary course of our business, we, our directors, management and employees are subject to legal or administrative proceedings. Although we cannot predict with certainty the ultimate resolution of lawsuits, investigations and claims asserted against us, our directors, management and employees, we do not believe that any currently pending legal or administrative proceeding to which we, our directors, management and employees are a party will have a material adverse effect on our business or reputation. See “Item 3. Key Information — D. Risk Factors — Risks Related to Our Business — We, our directors, management and employees may be subject to certain risks related to legal proceedings filed by or against us, and adverse results may harm our business.”

In October 2018, a proposed class action complaint was filed with the United States District Court in the Central District of California against us and our management alleging violations of the U.S. securities laws in relation to a possible data breach in August 2018. This case was voluntarily dismissed by the plaintiffs on February 27, 2019.

As of December 31, 2021, we had several pending legal and administrative proceedings, including lease contract terminations and disputes and management agreement disputes. As of the same date, our accrued contingencies remained was RMB54 million (US$8 million).

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Corporate Social Responsibility: Environmental Impact

We are committed to reducing our environmental footprint through various energy saving initiatives. For example, most of our hotels use LED lights and are equipped with eco-friendly air source heat pump systems and solar energy systems. A majority of Legacy DH hotels are using green electricity. We also continued our Green Living Initiative, which encourages customers to choose low-carbon and environmental-friendly way of accommodation by reusing towels and bed sheets, etc. Moreover, we encourage customers to choose electronic invoices through our Easy Invoice System to save paper resource and reduce carbon footprint. For Legacy DH, customers can choose Green Conference Services to achieve climate-friendly meetings with CO2 compensation. In the future, we will further control greenhouse gas emissions and actively promote energy conservation measures.

In addition, we keep improving our online energy consumption management system to timely and accurately track our hotels’ energy consumption, including electricity, water and gas consumption. This system helps us monitor the consumption level and cost per room night and detect abnormal energy usage patterns. By analyzing data collected by this system, we are able to come up with energy-saving solutions and improve the overall energy efficiency of our hotels. In order to improve product performance and reduce environmental impact, we have also been upgrading the disposable items used in our hotels (such as slippers, toothbrushes, combs and paper cups) to environmental friendly ones.