China’s biggest travel site, Ctrip, is going abroad itself, purchasing Skyscanner for $1.7 billion.
The move is being cast as mutually beneficial for both sites with the two companies able to share in what the other does best. Ctrip will have access to Skyscanner’s meta-search technology for comparing flights and travel deals across a range of different websites, while Ctrip can help Skyscanner beef up their back-end booking software, getting customers to purchase travel insurance and rental cars, The Wall Street Journal reports.
It will also help to give the Chinese company a much larger foothold worldwide. In October, ctrip.com registered 38.2 million visits, the vast majority of those coming from China, while skyscanner.net boasted around 22 million visits.
Ctrip says that Skyscanner will continue to be managed independently and the British company’s management team will be kept in place.
The acquisition is just one more sign that Chinese tourists are taking over the world’s economy. Over the past decade China has been breaking its own outbound tourism records year after year. In 2015, Chinese tourists lead the world yet again with 120 million trips abroad. Last Saturday, Australia began offering 10-year, multiple-entry visas to Chinese tourists.
As the Chinese middle class grows, so to does Ctrip’s fortunes. The company was founded in Shanghai in 1999 and grew quickly into China’s top travel agency. In recent years, it has received investments from both Baidu and Priceline.
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