China’s largest hotel operator has world-class aspirations and is betting that the U.S. is fertile ground for expansion.

With nearly 500 hotels in development ranging from star-rated to budget developments, Shanghai-based Jin Jiang International Holdings Co. Ltd. has an aim to become among the top 20 hotel groups in the world.

Just over five months ago, the 30,000 employee-strong Jin Jiang International entered into a 50-50 joint venture with hotel makeover specialist Thayer Lodging Group to expand stateside.

The partnership, known as Hotel Acquisition Company, LLC, was an upgrade of a previous four-year relationship between the firms to provide online-booking technology for the hospitality industry in China.

On Friday, Jin Jiang  International and U.S.-based Thayer announced a deal to acquire 232 properties in a $307 million deal for Interstate Hotels & Resorts, the largest independent U.S. hotel management company. While most of Interstate's holdings are in the U.S., its international properties include hotels in Russia, England and Mexico.

This acquisition significantly accelerates our ability to expand internationally, giving us immediate access to a worldwide platform, said Yu Minliang, Jin Jiang’s Chairman and executive director.

Jin Jiang Hotels currently provides nearly 82,700 rooms in aggregate in more than 124 cities across China.