A lack of understanding of globalisation in Asian corporate culture might prevent Hong Kong hoteliers from expanding into international markets, an academic says. The decision whether to launch a hotel in a foreign market could be cultural rather than just a marketing or financial strategy decision, said Choi Tat-yung, assistant professor in finance from the Hong Kong Polytechnic University hotel and tourism management department. He said there was a basic cultural disparity between Western and Asian hotel managements, which determined their expansion strategies. Mr Choi said Asian hotel groups tended to tread a more prudent pace towards offshore expansion, which resulted in a slower, or a complete absence of any globalisation plan. 'Asian hotel groups, including those based in Hong Kong, tend to have a weaker global content in its corporate culture compared with their international rivals,'Mr Choi said. 'They are likely to expand in Southeast Asia and China where they are more familiar, but are in general less willing to expand into European and American markets. 'On the other hand, Western hotel chains are used to a culture of setting up their business in indigenous territory in an attempt to achieve rapid expansion and to globalise the company,' he said. The professor said there were a small number of Hong Kong hotel companies which were eager to expand globally and had succeeded in doing so. CDL Hotels International, a Hong Kong-listed hotel group, has a collection of 22 business hotels in Britain, Europe and the United States. Mr Choi also emphasised that a slower and geographically less diverse expansion strategy did not mean that Asian hotel chains were less profitable. He said many Asian groups were able to make stunning profits at the cost of a less diversified flagship. 'Local hotel groups tend to involve in short-term investment and only go into a project when the market is good. International management companies are more likely to commit in long-term investment for the sake of globalisation,' Mr Choi said. 'That does not mean that Hong Kong hotel groups are not profitable. On the contrary, many of them make a lot of money because of slower expansion.' Steven Parker, vice-president of marketing and strategic planning, Holiday Inn Worldwide said European and Asian hotel chains were different, with the key disparity coming from views of property ownership.