"We are looking to grow in China's primary and secondary citiesand respond to the demand among corporate and leisure travelers forquality accommodations," says Koos Klein, president of HiltonHotels Asia Pacific. Hilton already operates six hotels in thesprawling country and has four more in various stages ofdevelopment that will open between 2009 and 2010.

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The larger of the properties just going under contract is theDoubletree by Hilton Beijing, which will offer 455 hotels rooms, 98upscale residences and a range of food and beverage offerings,including 24-hour dining. There will also be a health club,ballroom and roof garden, plus audio-visual and communicationsfacilities. The property is located in the southwest quarter of thecity on Guanganmenwai Street, about five miles from TiananmenSquare and the Forbidden City.

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"Given the scale of the Beijing market and its increasingin-bound tourism in the run-up to the 2008 Olympics, we see greatpotential to introduce several more of our Hilton family brands,from luxury through to mid-market and economy," says Klein. Thecompany currently operates one hotel in Beijing under the Hiltonmoniker.

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Equally optimistic is the owner of the Beijing hotel, the ChinaOverseas Real Estate Development Corp. "We are happy to appointHilton to manage our property," says chairman Wang Yonghe. "Westrongly believe that Doubletree by Hilton Beijing will addsomething new to the city and good financial results to our projectas well."

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The other inn is owned by Kunshan Guangting Property Co. anddesigned by Steve Leung Architects of Hong Kong. There will be noresidences as in the case of the Beijing property, but the 397-roomhotel will offer similar amenities in terms of food service, afitness center, ballroom and banquet facilities. Situated near anexpressway connecting Shanghai, Kunshan and Suzhou, the hotel isalso close to Shanghai's two major airports.

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Besides Hilton's broad platform, Doubletree is now operating at180 full-service hotels in gateway cities, suburban markets andleading leisure destinations. Most of those are in North and SouthAmerica, but David Horton, SVP of brand management for Doubletree,promises penetration of new territory, especially Asia. "Thisongoing expansion in the China hotel market is an incredible newchapter for our Doubletree hotel collection," he says. Doubletree'sparent, Hilton Hotels Corp., has more than 2,800 hotels and 480,000rooms in 75 countries.

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