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HNA Group to invest $7.6 billion in tourism, digital transformation


BEIJING (Reuters) - Chinese aviation to financial services conglomerate HNA Group Co Ltd [HNAIRC.UL] will invest 50 billion yuan ($7.6 billion) to promote tourism and digital transformation, a senior company official said on Tuesday.

Eric Tong, chairman of HNA Technology Group, told Reuters the amount represented "a long term investment plan" focused mainly on developing the tourism business.

Tong did not elaborate on how the funds would be raised or spent, but did not rule out "merging other companies".

He was speaking at an event to launch a mobile application bringing together HNA's offerings in the hospitality, aviation and financial sectors.

HNA, which has bought stakes in Hilton Worldwide Holdings <HLT.N>, Carlson Hotels Inc. and NH Hotel Group SA <NHH.MC>, has an interest in 8,000 hotel properties at home and overseas.

It also controls more than a dozen, mostly domestic, carriers, led by flagship Hainan Airlines <600221.SS>.

The group has seen deals stall in the face of heightened scrutiny over its ownership and finances after announcing more than $50 billion in acquisitions in a little over two years.

Tong is also chief executive of subsidiary Tianjin Tianhai Investment, which last year spent about $6 billion on U.S. technology provider Ingram Micro Inc, and $675 million for IT outsourcing firm Pactera International.

He declined to comment on Pactera's fundraising plans, after Goldman Sachs (GS.N) suspended preliminary work on a planned U.S. initial public offering this year.

(Reporting by Matthew Miller; Writing by Beijing Monitoring Desk; Editing by Edwina Gibbs and Clarence Fernandez)