The long-term vision of James Liang, founder of China's largest online travel company Ctrip, is to be the world's biggest provider of online travel for Chinese tourists and business travellers as well as in the non-China market. Outbound travel from China, which is predicted to skyrocket to 200 million trips annually by 2020, is growing faster than domestic travel. Ctrip is also pushing into Korea, Japan and other Asian markets as part of a wider global push which will see it take on rivals like Expedia.
This includes Australia where travellers use the company's Trip.com portal. "We consider Australia part of Asia we have a ground team to sign up hotels and look for outbound business. Outbound business to Australia is growing well. We have an English app and English website. Australia is probably one of the fastest-growing markets."
Thailand is the biggest destination for Chinese tourists, with 10 million annual visitors out of a total of 100 to 200 million, he says.
Ctrip grew rapidly and by 2017 the company's gross merchandise value jumped 30% last year to 560 billion yuan and revenues grew 39% to 26.8 billion yuan. Liang believes Ctrip has only captured a fraction of the global travel market.
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