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Check Into This Hot China Hotel Story

Most of us live in cities, so we take them for granted. But around the world, it is a relatively new phenomenon. By the end of next year, 3.3 billion people -- slightly more than half of humanity -- will be living in an urban environment. And the United Nations says that 5 billion people will live in cities by 2030.

As you might expect, China is the main story in this major change in global social organization. City dwellers there earn an average of $1,500 per year, which is four times the amount that rural dwellers earn, according to Jim Williams of the Williams Inference Center, a Massachusetts think tank.

So as farmers decide to give up their plows and head to cities to find better-paying work, you can bet that there must be major changes in the way the country is organized.

You have heard all about the infrastructure plays in emerging markets, ranging from steel and copper to cement and airports. But another angle you may not be so familiar with is the rising need for more hotels as people travel more than ever before.

The industry worldwide is so hot that private-equity companies have been grabbing many of the good chains right out from under the noses of public shareholders. Five global hotel companies have been taken private in the past year alone for a total value of $8.7 billion.

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