Ctrip embarks on hotel operation, Xiaozhu gets $300 million funding, and more
High-speed railway passenger volume increased by more than 50% year-on-year during China’s National Day holiday, Airbnb rival Xiaozhu has pocketed $300 million for beefing up security and services.
Golden Week tourists
Over the National Day holiday week, a total of 6.94 million (up by 8.2%) Chinese tourists traveled abroad and 6.63 million (up by 9.8%) international tourists visited China. The total inbound and outbound traffic at 13.6 million was a record high.
Thailand overtook Japan as the top destination for Chinese outbound travelers, with Hong Kong in the third place, followed by Vietnam and Singapore. South Korea, Croatia, Mexico, Serbia, and Tunisia were the top five dark horse destinations, averaging more than 50% increase in Chinese arrivals during the peak holiday period.
High-speed railway travel was highly favored by passengers during the holiday and passenger volume increased more than 50% year-on-year. From September 28 to October 7, express rail services between Hong Kong and various mainland cities served about 657,000 passengers.
Alipay’s in-store transaction volume overseas was 2.2 times more than the same time last year. Hong Kong and Thailand retained their positions as the top two destinations in terms of spending, and Japan rose to the third place. Transaction volume in some European countries saw the biggest jump - 27 times in Switzerland year-on-year and 14 times in Spain. The average spending per user in Denmark at RMB 8,764 (USD 1,266) was the highest, according to Alipay.
According to Ctrip, residents of China's second- and third-tier cities spent significantly more this year on overseas travel, with travelers from Dalian, Suzhou, Shenyang, Chengdu, Fuzhou, Zhengzhou, Xi’an and Xiamen spending around RMB 6,800 to RMB 7,800 (USD 982 - 1,127) per person. In the next five years, the travel expenditure of residents in China’s lower-tier cities is expected to grow faster than those in the first- and second-tier cities.
Travelport data showed that flight bookings to China during China’s National Day holiday grew the most in Japan, the United States and Australia. Compared to the same period in 2017, flight bookings made in Japan to China increased by 8,853, up 37.5%; bookings made in the United States to China increased by 4,772 (+18.9%) and in Australia by 2,537 (+29.9%).
Ctrip has unveiled its hotel management brand Rezen Hotels to bring together top-rated hotels in China’s first- and second-tier cities. The online travel group aims to have more than 50 franchised Rezen Hotels in service by the end of this year, 250 by next year and 500 in the year after.
Ctrip plans to launch a Trip.com 7/24 customer center in Seoul this month to cope with rising demand in the local market. As part of its expansion, Trip.com will begin airport pick-up services and selling activity products in South Korea by the end of this year.
Ctrip also announced that it has partnered with frequent flyer content provider 30K to bring flight mileage benefits information to its users. The feature is available on Ctrip's Chinese language website and mobile apps.
Tempus Global and Shiji Information
Travel solution provider Tempus Global intends to spend RMB 180 million (USD 26.08 million) to acquire 60% shares of Chocolate Happy Land (CHL), a theme park operator with projects in Shanghai and other Chinese cities. CHL aims to become the largest family theme-park brand in the first- and second-tier cities nationwide.
Shiji Information expects to yield USD 481 million in revenue for the year ending December 30, 2018, which will put it second only to Oracle Hospitality in hotel tech sales leadership. Shiji acquired hotel tech service provider StayNTouch in September and golf and spa management provider Concept Software Systems this month. Also, it is backing hotel revenue consultancy Kalibri Labs, and was reported to have invested in hotel asset manager Leonardo.
Home-sharing unicorn Xiaozhu.com has secured nearly USD 300 million in its latest funding round to beef up its security system and service quality. It has launched a host-oriented unit Rental Community to ease access to its business in April and partnered with Alibaba’s fintech affiliate Ant Financial to introduce smart locks across 40 Chinese cities in May.
SIMTrip, a cross-border mobile communications data service provider incubated by the mass innovation branch of Ctrip- and Tencent-backed Tongcheng Tourism, has received tens of millions of yuan in its angel funding round. It provides business travelers with cross-border mobile data services through Internet of Things devices, and offers users real-time access to the Internet in overseas destinations.
Blockchain- and AI-powered travel platform Showboom Technology has banked RMB 20 million, and has launched its travel phones with WiFi features and a WeChat mini-program Showboom+ that selects front-line travel service suppliers. Showboom joined the Microsoft Accelerator and Baidu AI Accelerator programs in March this year.
Ksher, a Thailand-based travel e-commerce platform that aims to serve Chinese tourists, has secured tens of millions of dollars from Sequoia in its A round of financing. Ksher partners local merchants with payment services, and branches out into direct selling of overseas travel services and products when it has amassed more than 100,000 merchants.