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Thai group buys Bank Hotel with eye on high-end market

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Thailand-based TCC Group signed a deal yesterday with the Yunnan Branch of Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) to buy the Bank Hotel for 210.1 million yuan (US$26.2 million).

97Imperial Hotels Grouphttp://www.imperialhotels.com/Hôtel Plaza Athénée New York#http://www.plaza-athenee.com/#, says it plans to convert the hotel into a 'super five-star' hotel - which should easily make it Kunming's swankest and best-managed hotel.

This is a good move for both sides. After recording a US$21.9 billion initial public offering last month, the largest IPO ever, ICBC seems to have decided to focus on its financial business and divest itself of its non-finance-related holdings.

TCC Group on the other hand, enters Kunming's promising hospitality market with very little competition for high-end leisure and business travelers. Chances are, the new hotel, whatever it will be called, will put pressure on other hotels in Kunming that wish to stay competitive to raise their service levels and efficiency.

TCC is expected to introduce international management standards and management software that should make its hotel Kunming's first international-standard five-star.

It seems that the outside world is waking up to Kunming's business potential. TCC's purchase of the Bank Hotel, Shui On's recent land purchase, the opening of Kunming's first international hospital and Parkson's purchase of two Kunming stores make government talk about making Kunming an international city a little more believable.

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