Communism is not so Prudish After all …

For all those frequenting china, you might find it interesting that in addition to Starbucks (which now costs 20-25% more in Shanghai than in the US), you can now also find another, less reputable staple of America culture in the region -- truck-stop culture that is. I recently learned that a Hooters is officially opening in Beijing (hat-tip Tony Poshek). Personally, even though I'm not one to frequent such establishments, I really could care less if we're exporting this type of Americana to China. And that's because China needs to clean up its act from a prostitution standpoint long before it thinks about regulating the growth of Western t-shirt bars. Consider that at a recent stay at the "five star" Jin Jiang Tower in Shanghai, the prostitutes were so aggressive -- and in cahoots with the management -- that they would not only follow patrons away from the bar at night, they'd actually bang on guest doors yelling out "message, message" to their potential customers for minutes at a time to get their attention (or wake them up, as the case may be).

When will Chinese hotels catch on that this is a "message" the majority of Westerners don't want? A legitimate massage, yes, but not this. From others I spoke to, it appears this level of aggressiveness is common in Chinese-owned business hotels in Shanghai where the managers share in the spoils (in Western owned and managed hotels, it's less of an issue, from what I hear). And the irony of all of this is that I'm sure China will collect far more tax revenue from an "innocent" Hooters establishment than from the hundreds or thousands of prostitutes and hotel managers offering to deliver midnight "messages" to their Western guests.

Jason Busch

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