ChinaTravelNews has learned that outbound travel service website Beijing Baicheng International Travel has held an internal meeting for liquidation, following its announcement on February 28 to wind up operation and prepare for liquidation.
Baicheng said in its announcement that the company was severely impacted by the coronavirus outbreak and lacked the cash flow to keep the business afloat. However, ChinaTravelNews learned that Baicheng has been facing financial troubles since the second half of 2019. Its latest financial results haven’t been published after it delisted from New Third Board in July.
Baicheng was renamed from Byecity, after the outbound travel platform originally launched in August 2000 was acquired by HCG Travel Group in January 2007.
Baicheng’s founder Song Zeng is known as a pioneer and veteran in China’s outbound travel industry. He established the HCG Travel Group, one of the three largest outbound travel wholesalers in China, and served as its chairman and general manager from 2004 to 2014.
Baicheng was spun off from HCG into an independent outbound travel agency in 2011.
The company was once an investors’ darling, having brought in USD20 million in its series B funding led by the Alibaba Group and China Broadband Capital, and USD29 million (RMB200 million) in its series C funding from Qianhe Capital and Alibaba-backed Fliggy in July 2015.
Baicheng was also the first O2O overseas travel service company in China to list on the New Third Board in 2016. It is indicated in the company’s public transfer statement that the company’s major shareholders include Tianjin Rui Heng Shun, Alibaba Group, Ruiyuan Capital and Baicheng Technology. Alibaba holds 16.47% shares of the company and is the second biggest shareholder.
The agency started off offering visa application services. It later diversified to providing airport transfer, car rental, ticket booking in destinations, as well as flight plus hotel packages, tailored tour and group travel services.
Baicheng offers more than 600 types of visa application services for 60 countries and regions. in the first half of 2018, it reported revenue of RMB283 million, serving 953,600 customers, up 17% YOY. (Translated by Elena)