China Aerospace Corporation's China Academy of Space Technology has set up a hotel investment company, in cooperation with CITIC Group, and plans to franchise hotels throughout China in 2007.
CAST ran several hotels previously, but there was not a unified brand or management. After eyeing the economy hotel market in China for some time, they recently decided to unite with CITIC to start the B&B Inn Hotel Investment and Management Company in Beijing. From this company they have launched the new "B&B Inn" brand.
The parties' first budget hotel in Shanghai, B&B Inn Xuhui, has just opened. The company management also announced that they will open franchises next year, and plan to rebrand all the hotels that belong to CAST to B&B Inn, in order to facilitate their expansion in China.
B&B Inn hotels are targeted at business guests, so they offer meeting rooms and free Internet services in all their planned outlets. Their rates run RMB178-288 per night, and they are hoping for 10 outlets in China next year, mainly focusing on cities such as Shanghai, Beijing and Shenzhen. At present, the planned franchise fee for B&B Inn is about RMB300,000.
At present, some large-scale state-owned enterprises in China also have hotel properties, but most of them are not open to the public, and don't have unified brands, which makes them sometimes suffer financial losses.