Accor plans its biggest expansion in China

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HONG KONG -- France's Accor Hotel Group said it will open 10 hotels in China by 2005 in a strategy designed to capitalize on the country's booming domestic leisure and business travel markets.

Accor called the move its biggest expansion in mainland China since entering the market in 1985, raising to 31 the number of Accor hotels in China.

During the next two years, Accor will manage five new Sofitels and two Novotels around the country. These are the 200-room Sofitel Westlake Hangzhou, the 306-room Sofitel Anshan, the 350-room Sofitel Shijiazhuang, the 370-room Sofitel Shenyang, the 325-room Sofitel Wanda Chengdu, the 155-room Novotel Oasis Beijing and the 250-room Novotel Nanjing.

As part of the expansion, Accor will launch its three-star Ibis brand in China with the opening of the 154-room Ibis Tianjin in October -- the first foreign-managed budget hotel in China, Accor said. Two more Ibis hotels will follow: the 150-room Ibis Chengdu in the third quarter of 2004 and one in Qingdao in 2005.

In related news, Accor said it will introduce its Ibis brand in Seoul, South Korea, when the Ibis Seoul opens later this year.

In addition to the Sofitel, Novotel and Ibis brands, Accor manages six hotels under the Zenith and Century brands in China. Recent hotel openings include the Sofitel Boao on Hainan Island last April and the Sofitel Jin Jiang Oriental Pudong in Shanghai late last year.

To contact reporter Jorge Sidron, send e-mail to [email protected].

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