Alibaba backs Israeli travel startup; Klook buys car-hire firm | Weekly Review
04/04/2020|10:14:48 PM|ChinaTravelNews, Expedia and drop contract terms amid probe

>> Hong Kong's Competition Commission said, and had favourable terms with hotels that might undermine the online travel market, hinder new or smaller players from entering and deprive consumers of choice. The three OTA giants have offered to remove the clauses in their contracts.

Alibaba invests in Israeli travel tech firm

>> Hotelmize, a developer of AI-based hotel price prediction and profit-optimization technologies said it is raising its B round investment largely in the Asia Pacific. The financing round is led by  the Alibaba Hong Kong Entrepreneurs Fund and Israeli-based Brilliance Ventures. The Israel-based company also announced it’s establishing its APAC headquarters in Hong Kong as a gateway to APAC and China.

Activities booking unicorn Klook buys car rental firm

>> ChinaTravelNews learned that Huizhuche, an overseas car rental platform for Chinese travelers, has been acquired by tours and activities booking startup Klook. Shanghai-based Huizhuche was one of the major online car rental platform for Chinese travelers abroad. A source told ChinaTravelNews that Klook spent less than USD 10 million in its acquisition of Huizhuche, a price tag much lower than the car rental firm's claimed value after its series B round.

Business travel platform Helios secures $42 million

>> Business travel and expense management SaaS platform Helios (or Huilianyi) had received USD 42 million in its C+ round of financing, in which China Renaissance’s New Economy Fund was the lead investor, while existing shareholders Softbank China Capital, Blue Lake Capital and Z Capital also took part. 

Travel e-commerce portal Ksher closes a new funding round

>> Cross-border e-payment solution provider Ksher has recently raised tens of millions of dollars in its A+ round of financing. MindWorks Ventures was the lead investor, and strategic shareholders in Japan and Malaysia also participated. 

Meituan registers 110 million room nights in a quarter

>> Tencent-invested lifestyle services provider Meituan said it recorded 110 million domestic hotel room nights in the fourth quarter, up by 74.4%. Total hotel room nights for the year increased 38.2% to 392.4 million in 2019. GTV of in-store, hotel & travel businesses grew by 25.6% year-over-year to RMB222.1 billion in 2019. Revenues from in-store, hotel & travel businesses increased by 40.6% year-over-year to RMB22.3 billion in 2019. 

Digital tour guides service Lvji generates 96.4% revenue through OTAs

>> Online tour guide provider Lvji Technology announced that its revenue increased 79.6% to RMB 541.8 million in 2019. Profit for the year grew 61.1% to RMB 160.8 million. The majority of the company's sale of online tour guides were through OTAs, accounting for 96.4% of Lvji's total revenue last year, while the sale through Lvji's own APP contributed less than 1% of total revenue. 

Chinese hotel CEOs expect rebound by mid-Q2

>> The world is still reeling from the coronavirus while China is slowly returning to normal. Senior executives from Chinese hotel brands including 7 Day Inn, Vienna Hotel Co. and Xana Hotelle believe that they have weathered the COVID-19 storm with apt financial planning. The domestic tourism is expected to regain its peak in May. 

Hong Kong’s InterContinental hotel to lay off 500 employees

>> An InterContinental hotel in Hong Kong will lay off about 500 employees as it embarks on a two-year renovation project, a labor union has said. IHG would kick off the renovation on April 20, saying it would try to arrange its employees to work in other hotels under the same group.

TravelSky grows aviation IT revenues by 8.6% in 2019

>> Chinese airline IT provider TravelSky said its revenue amounted to RMB 8,121.7 million in 2019, up by 8.7% from previous year. Profit attributable to owners of the company grew 9.4% to RMB 2,542.9 million. Revenues from aviation information technology services amounted to RMB 4,517 milion last year, up by 8.6% and accounting for 55.6% of the company's total revenue.

Chinese airlines revise flight schedules after China orders cuts

>> Chinese airlines have revamped their international flight schedules between late March and the beginning of May after the Civil Aviation Authority of China (CAAC) decided to limit the number of international flights coming in and out of China in an effort to curtail the increasing number of imported COVID-19 cases in China.

Top tourist attractions in Shanghai close again to prevent virus spread

>> Top Shanghai tourist attractions that had reopened earlier this month following the peak of China’s deadly coronavirus outbreak were ordered on Sunday to close again to prevent its spread. The move includes popular Shanghai Tower and Oriental Pearl TV Tower, along with scenic cruises along the Huangpu River through the heart of the city.