[photopress:post_office_hotel_1.jpg,full,alignright]The China Post Group has chosen 30 of its star-rated hotels (there are 400 altogether) to place on the Shanghai United Assets & Equity Exchange (SUAEE) for asset trading purposes.
This is practically a directive from Premier Wen Jiabao. At the recent CPPCC annual session, he said state-owned companies should begin a complete overhaul aiming to cast adrift their non-core business. This will improve services in the core businesses. Plain running a hotel is not a Post Office core business.
Our illustration shows the Mengcheng Post, located in Jiangsu province, which was inaugurated by the Gaoyou county magistrate Huang Kiming in the 8th Jongwu year in Ming Dynasty.
After Emperor Chengzu moved the capital from Nanjing to Beijing for a while the two capitals existed at the same time and there was heavy traffic and busy contacts between the North and South.
Mingcheng Post, therefore, became more and more important. It had 200 rooms, 130 postal horses, 18 postal boats and more than 200 people as servers and couriers. Mengcheng Post performed the function of post office, hotel and transportation port as well. And all this many centuries before the Pony Express was even dreamed of.
Ren Yongxin, deputy general manager of the Finance Department under China Post Group, said, ‘We will focus only on postal services in the future, and sell or transfer first our hotel assets and then the ones in other sectors.’
Fixing the details of the chain of the first 30 is Phoenix Asset Management. There are many rumors that most of the group’s hotels are operating at a loss but there is no official comment. He said, ‘There’s no problem with profitability, the initiative is aimed at sharpening our core competence’.
As the 2008 Beijing Olympics — a time of plenty for the city’s hospitality industry — draw close, he said ‘a professional hotel operator will perform a better job in getting these hotels to provide strong servies and improve their brand equity.’
The 30 hotels newly listed on the SUAEE are spread across 17 Chinese cities, covering 4 four-star and 13 three-star hotels.
Ren Yonxin said, ‘We aim to finalize the deals on these 30 hotels by the end of 2007, before bringing in the next batch. By the end of 2008, all our 400-odd hotels will be available for trading on the SUAEE.’
Source: China Daily