In 2002, the Beijing Committee for Disease Prevention launched guidelines based on the Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion on health promoting hospitals (HPHs). HPH pilot projects were then initiated, on a voluntary basis, in 44 Beijing hospitals. Evaluations have been undertaken to assess the impacts of the pilot project. This article outlines this HPH project, its development and evaluation and reports on the attitudes and contribution of hospital management as determined by questionnaires and interviews from 281 managerial employees from 106 Beijing hospitals (93 from pilot hospitals and 188 from control). The results of the evaluation indicate that long-term health promotion planning and health promotion specialized funds have been better established in pilot hospitals than in the control group and also that the concept of HPH is better understood by managerial staff in pilot hospitals than by those in control hospitals. The main perceived barriers faced in the development of HPH are shortages of funds, personnel, time management and professional skills. To further develop HPHs in China, effort needs to be made to ensure that hospital leaders and management are considered first. If managerial staff have an appropriate understanding of the concept and principles of HPH, then it is more likely that health promotion activities can be introduced into the daily workings of hospitals, and the necessary funds, personnel and training on health promotion skills be provided.