The head of Hard Rock International said Tuesday the leisure firm was looking to expand its rock-and-roll themed hotel franchise across Asia despite the financial crisis.
Hamish Dodds, president and chief executive officer of the US-based group, said it was working on deals to open Hard Rock Hotels in Tokyo, Beijing, Shanghai, Bangkok, Jakarta and Hong Kong over the next few years.
The group currently manages two hotels in Asia -- one in Pattaya, Thailand, and the other in Bali, Indonesia -- and it is launching three new hotels in Macau, Malaysia and Singapore later this year.
"We have a number of negotiations ongoing in Asia. It's a good time to be looking around," he told AFP in Hong Kong.
"We certainly have better bargaining power now because of the availability of distressed assets and better leases (amid the crisis)," he said.
Dodds said the company has stepped up its search for potential sites and franchise partners in Asia.
In June, the company will open a 300-room Hard Rock Hotel in the southern Chinese gaming hub of Macau.
The new hotel is part of the 2.1-billion-US-dollar entertainment resort complex run by Lawrence Ho, head of Melco Crown Entertainment and son of Macau gaming tycoon Stanley Ho.
Dodds said Hard Rock's parent company, Seminole Tribe of Florida, was one of the most successful gaming businesses in the world and its entry into the Macau market was logical.
"If we are in the gaming business, it makes sense to be in the biggest gaming market in the world, which is Macau," he said.
Hard Rock International owns 124 Hard Rock Cafes and nine Hard Rock Hotels around the world.
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