Rajasthan: After 18 years in China, Rupesh Kedia returns home to set up a resort chain | Jaipur News

After 18 years in China, Rupesh Kedia has returned home. He was planning for the homecoming since 2013 and had been buying big chunks of land closer to tourist circuits, to build resorts someday.
His export business of IT hardware and technical textiles from China required him to visit several countries. As he travelled extensively for business, he found a new love in the hospitality sector. Being from a tourist state like Rajasthan, it added fuel to the fire.
“I developed a desire to return to Rajasthan since 2013. I could see an easy passage through the hospitality sector, which is less prone to the risks of cyclicality. As a first step, I bought inexpensive land away from cities but closer to tourist circuits. The land parcels fitted into the resort chain concept I envisioned. Land is a key component for any industrial unit. Now I have that comfort as I have land at 21 locations. My plan is to build 25 resorts in the next 12 years. The first one, a resort in Pushkar is already off the block. We did a soft launch last November,” explains Kedia.
The 25 resorts would require investments worth about Rs 5,000 crore and would generate several thousands of jobs. But Kedia says capital would not be a constraint.
“Most of the resorts would operate on a saleleaseback model. With this model, we sell rooms or blocks of rooms to investors and take them back on lease from them. They would get returns and complimentary offers like using the rooms and hotel facilities.
We have already sold phase-I of the Pushkar resort having 120 rooms and will construct the second phase. This will be the biggest resort in Pushkar having 280 rooms,” says Kedia.
Nature Kalp, which he set up for the resorts business, started with a leased property in Ranthambore in January 2021 to understand the operational nitty-gritty before jumping into the new business headlong. Besides the two resorts, Kedia has started work on 10 more in locations like Udaipur, Jawai, Pali, and Mukundra hill forests. “We will have at least six new resorts operational in the next five years. The Udaipur property will be the largest in the city for which we have tied up with an international hotel chain,” says Kedia.
When he came to Rajasthan in 2019 to give a push to the business, he did not expect that the Covid pandemic would break out and China would become less accessible. Just before the Covid outbreak, both his hardware and technical textile business used to clock revenues of about Rs 180 crore. But now there is a slowdown with volumes taking a dip.
“I have been lucky at timing my entry into new businesses. During my graduation in Mumbai, I was among the first to develop a software office automation. I had some monopoly as a first mover. But when big corporate houses like Tatas entered the space, I folded up the operations as margins got squeezed,” recalls Kedia.
Then he returned to Jaipur and decided to foray into IT hardware in 1995, when dealerships were few and far between. He rode the early wave. By 2001, the entry of a large number of players again stiffened the competition, forcing him to shift base to China.
“Again, a boom followed after I entered the sector. But as the growing market attracted more players, margins started dropping. In 2001, I quit the business in India and visited Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore and China to explore opportunities. I thought I should be near the buyer or supplier. That’s how I set up the hardware business in Shenzhen. After 7-8 years of a good run, that too started falling. To maintain the Rs 200-crore revenue rate, I entered technical textile whose demand was growing,” recalls Kedia.
“The pandemic has raised the demand for resort vacation and again I think I ventured into the segment at the right time,” says Kedia.
Besides business, Kedia loves to observe trends and also write. He has written a book on how to learn Chinese quickly.

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