hotelSofitelJinJiang.jpgHot on the heels of China Comservice's hugely successful HK IPO — see yesterday's story — comes another soar-away debut from Shanghai Jin Jiang International Hotels, China's leading hotel group and a good play on China's consumer boom.

Its stock price closed 73% up on its first day of trading today —
earlier in the day it almost doubled — and the IPO received 383 times
more orders from HK investors than shares available.

The Shanghai-based hotels group will use the HK$2.4bn it raised to
open more hotels outside of Shanghai and to refurbish existing
properties for the 2008 Olympics.

Jin Jiang operates 78 mid-range hotels with more than 11,000 rooms
and six landmark hotels. It also owns stakes in or manages 44 luxury
hotels including the pictured Sofitel Jin Jiang Oriental Tower, which
France's Accor group operates as part of the JV set up between the two companies in 2002.

Its interesting that Jin Jiang wants to build more mid-range
properties, presumably in a bid to attract more Chinese and foreign
tourists rather than well-heeled foreign businessmen.

According to the China's National Tourism Administration, both the
number of tourists and the money they spent hit record highs last year.
China's travel industry catered to 1.4bn tourists in 2005, a rise of
10%, while tourism revenue rose 12% to almost $98bn.

The tourism boom also works in the reverse direction, with
increasing numbers of China's middle class now able to afford a foreign

The number of Chinese tourists taking foreign trips in the first ten
months this year rose more than 10% to over 28m. According to China
Radio International, foreign travel is now a lot easier
for Chinese citizens, who can apply for passports whenever they need
and do not require formal invitations from their desired destinations.
As of now, 132 countries and regions around the world have officially
opened to Chinese travellers.

The US, which has had a less-than-welcoming reputation, recently
relaxed rules to allow Chinese tour groups from seven Chinese travel
agencies to apply for group visas instead of business visas like
before. In similar vein, the Flanders region of Belgium recently opened
a tourist office in Beijing to encourage Chinese visitors to come to
the Dutch-speaking part of Belgium.

More articles on Chinese tourists abroad in EngagingChina here, here and here.

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