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December 15, 2011

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Modern take on family-owned hotels

AARON Wang is a rookie in the hospitality industry, but the vice president of Shanghai Hong Quan Group and the general manager of Shanghai Hong Quan Hotel Management Co Ltd has big dreams for his family business.

A year and a half ago, then the 27-year-old Zhejiang Province native returned to China to help in his family business. He had earned MBA and MBIT degrees from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology in Australia.

Wang acquired his first knowledge of hotel operations in Shanghai.

Wang shares his father Wang Yuexiang's vision of eventually developing Hong Quan into a time-honored brand.

Hong Quan Hotel Management currently runs a portfolio of several properties in Shanghai and neighboring cities, both in operation and in the pipeline.

Hong Quan is a subsidiary of Shanghai Hong Quan Group Co Ltd, which was established by Wang Yuexiang in early 1990s; it was initially a construction company in Putuo District but now has major operations in real estate, financing and hotel properties.

The opening of the Radisson Blu Hotel Shanghai Hong Quan in 2008 was the group's first step into the hospitality and hotel industry.

It was the first international branded five-star hotel in Putuo District.

"This is one of the three key engines for our group's growth," says Aaron Wang, who is also assistant to the president at Hong Quan Group. "Hotels can serve as perfect platforms for brand building, mainly through word of mouth."

"You can always find some room for improvement at a hotel," he says. "That offers you the opportunity to do something every day to improve your guests' experience, which will bring hoteliers a sense of achievement."

Shouldering more responsibility for the overall growth and strategic expansion of the group's hotel business, Wang has been overseeing several ongoing projects - most of them small-scale properties that target high-end customers.

He and his team are seeking opportunities to develop new projects.

According to the company's plan, a 29-room, French-style boutique hotel will open as early as next May on downtown Jinling Road in Huangpu District.

The property is renovated from an eight-story commercial building owned by the group.

It will feature a fine-dining restaurant and a spa.

Meanwhile, construction will begin soon on an integrated resort development in Taihu Xishan in Suzhou, neighboring Jiangsu Province. It will comprise an upscale spring time-themed hotel and a yacht club.

"It is important to find our own niche in order to secure sustainable growth in the highly competitive hotel market," Wang says.

"Our cooperation with the Radisson Blu brand has been successful so far but we don't really perceive it a major business model for our company's long-term growth, though we always remain open for future cooperation with international hotel management groups such as Carlson," Wang says.

Instead of asking international giants to manage its properties, Wang says, Hong Quan is keen to build its own strength, particularly in the development and operation of small to medium-sized (50-100 guest rooms), design-focused properties. It is targeting a new generation of customers who are mainly aged between 25 and 45 years old and have an interest in trying something new and different.

Holding a bachelor's degree in architectural design from the University of Melbourne, Wang is an active contributor when it comes to project master plansand designs.

"It is a trend that more people in Shanghai enjoy relaxing weekend trips to nearby areas such as Suzhou in Jiangsu Province as they seek an escape from the hectic city," Wang says. "There should be great potential in integrated resort development catering for such family needs and we will be particularly interested in securing projects within one or two hours' drive from Shanghai."

Hong Quan operates a resort at Yangcheng Lake, Kunshan in Jiangsu Province. It can accommodate 80 guests and is popular during the hairy crab season.

Best Deals

Radisson Blu Hotel Shanghai Hong Quan offers a winter promotion through February 29, 2012. Room rates start from 700 yuan net and 900 yuan net (including one-way airport transfer). The package includes deluxe room with two breakfasts, complimentary high-speed Internet, satellite television, swimming pool and complimentary tea and coffee making facilities in room.

The Christmas package of 588 yuan plus 15 percent service includes free flow of soft drinks, chilled juices, local beer and house wine and, of course, its extensive buffet prepared by Chef Yang and his team. Enjoy the wide range of mouthwatering dishes, including traditional Christmas turkey, Southeast Asian dishes, Shanghainese delicacies and many more offerings. First prize in the lucky draw is a trip to Phuket, Thailand.

For reservation please call 5355-9999, or e-mail to

Favorite Dish

After living in Australia for eight years, Aaron Wang is fond of Western food, especially hamburgers. When he returned to Shanghai, he found that the most delicious hamburger is served in The Terrace of the Radisson Blu Hotel Shanghai Hong Quan. The Radisson burger is made of imported beef pattie on a sesame bun, topped with bacon, egg and cheese.


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