Hong Kong's tallest building allows visitors to enjoy the view

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It has slowly been working its way upwards into Hong Kong's skyline and pretty soon it will lord over them all.

Reaching 483 meters (and 118 floors), the International Commerce Centre will be the tallest building in town when its doors open in the fourth quarter of this year.

And the good news for the millions of tourists who visit Hong Kong each year - and more than a few locals - is that the building's management have designated an observation deck some 393 meters up on Floor 100, offering spectacular views over the city it will command.

The ICC's will be the highest viewing platform open to the public in the world, outside the brand new Burj Khalifa in Dubai, which has an observation deck at 442 meters, the CN Tower in Toronto (446.5 meters) and the Shanghai World Financial Center (decks on three floors, at 423, 439 and 474 meters).

In Hong Kong, only a climb up to the top of the 552-meter The Peak that rises out of Central, and a 20-minute walk around the hill, will offer a higher view of the harbor and its surrounds.

Four express lifts are being built to shoot visitors up to the ICC's observation deck, and management are promising exhibitions focusing on the development of the city and a tourism information center once the facility opens.

Hong Kong tourism chiefs are hailing the ICC as the city's "new landmark'' while management of the site itself has already been promoting the Ritz-Carlton, which will make its home in floors 102 to 118, as the "highest hotel in the world.''

Bird's eye views:

Shanghai World Financial Centre, Shanghai, China (http://www.swfc-shanghai.com): Height - 492 meters. Observation deck (474 meters).

CN Tower, Toronto, Canada (http://www.cntower.ca): Height - 553.3 metres. Observation deck - 446.5 metres.

Burj Khalifa, Dubai (http://www.burjdubai.com): Height - 828 meters. Observation deck height: 442 meters.

International Commerce Centre, Hong Kong (http://www.shkp-icc.com): Height - 483 meters. Observation deck (393 meters).