InterContinental Hotels Group said Tuesday that it will launch a new upper mid-scale hotel brand in China by the end of 2011.

Chief executive Andrew Cosslett, addressing a press conference for the group's annual results, said the new hotels would be positioned between its upscale chain Crowne Plaza and luxury brand InterContinental.

The London-based company, which is the world's largest hotel operator by number of rooms, plans to more than double the size of its operations in the key emerging markets of China, India and the Middle East in the next few years.

InterContinental is seeking to tap into growing traveller numbers and global economic trends, boosted by increased life expectancy, the use of low-cost airlines and increased Internet access.The group estimates that China will overtake the United States as the world's biggest hotel market by 2025.

Source: The Independent