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In Dutch

(Global Times)

09:33, February 06, 2012

Shipping cranes in the Port of Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Photo: Li Qiaoyi/GT

Though it was the first day of the Chinese Lunar New Year, a strange quietness shrouded the empty lobby in the four-star Shanghai Hotel Holland, a sleek, glass building with Chinese decor in downtown Delft, a municipality in the Netherlands.

Completed in 2004 at a cost of 13 million euros ($17 million), the hotel is the first and biggest project that privately owned by Shanghai Taiyuan Property, which has tackled in the Dutch market. However, facing huge debt, unresolved labor disputes and desperately low customer turn out, it almost went bankrupt.

"Seven years ago, we signed a 20-year management agreement with Waha Capital, a local company supposed to be more experienced than us, but ended up being unqualified and irresponsible," the hotel's chief manager Yu Rong told the Global Times. "Their bad performance totally destroyed our hotel's image."

To take back its right to manage the hotel, Taiyuan filed a lawsuit against Waha last July and finally won the case after 13 months.

Yu said her company paid a high price for its first ever overseas investment. The company had to change the hotel's name, and invested 2 million yuan ($314,960) to upgrade its infrastructure and hire new staff.

Known as "the gateway to Europe," the Netherlands has attracted thousands of ambitious Chinese investors to cheap European assets or to expand their businesses at a lower cost.

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