Skyscanner signals China intent via Youbibi acquisition (for its tech)
Two years after entering the Chinese metasearch market, Skyscanner has performed another move with the acquisition of local competitor Youbibi.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Skyscanner localised its service in August 2012 when it launched the Tianxun brand in China (a similar strategy to TripAdvisor with its DaoDao site), but the acquisition of the four-year-old Youbibi startup will not see a dual brand strategy in the country.
The company says over the next six months it will integrate the technology from the acquisition into the Tianxun service, a specialist in domestic travel for flights, hotels and package holidays, but will eventually close the site and concentrate its efforts on its original brand.
Skyscanner CEO and co-founder Gareth Williams says:
“This acquisition brings the best of both worlds with Skyscanner’s international coverage and Youbibi’s domestic travel search and intimate knowledge of the Chinese traveller.
“The acquisition takes us from being a strong international travel specialist in China to a truly global travel service provider for Chinese nationals, domestically and internationally.”
At the time of the Tianxun in 2012, Skyscanner struck a deal with Chinese search giant Baidu to provide it with international flight tools.
The Youbibi team, mostly engineers, will continue to be based in its home town of Shenzhen. Skyscanner’s existing marketing and commercial operations will remain in Beijing.
The acquisition comes ten months after Skyscanner bought Spanish hotel search startup Fogg, again essentially to get its hands on the expertise and technology to bolster its accommodation search capability.
Youbibi co-founder and CEO Steven Pang adds:
“We built our website and app with the goal of making it as easy as possible for travellers across China to find their ideal holiday.
“We are proud of the technology that we have developed and, by bringing this together on our platform with Skyscanner’s global flight expertise, we believe we can create a really exciting travel search tool for all Chinese travellers.
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