Baidu gets more seats on Qunar's board to strengthen alliance
09/11/2015|3:29:41 PM|ChinaTravelNews

Leading Chinese mobile and online travel platform Qunar announced it has expanded its Board of Directors from seven to nine seats, and has appointed Liang Zeng, Yuming He, and Fang Wei from Baidu as directors.

Baidu CEO and Chairman of Qunar's Board Robin Li increases control his over the OTA

It also announced that the employment contracts of its CEO Chenchao (CC) Zhuang CFO and Yilu Zhao have been extended for four years, affirming the board's confidence in the management team to driving Qunar's growth.

Liang Zeng serves as Baidu's VP and GM of its Nuomi unit, an O2O B2C service  platform. Prior to joining Baidu, Mr. Zeng held senior positions at Microsoft as VP of the Greater China Region. He holds an MBA from the Georgia Institute of Technology and an MS from Tsinghua University.

Yuming He joined Baidu in August 2015 as executive director of strategic investment. Mr. He has more than 15 years of professional experience in finance and strategy and planning for listed and growth companies. Prior to joining Baidu, he held senior positions at Juntong Capital Management (HK) Co. Limited and Morgan Stanley, as well as J.P. Morgan, Disney, Paladin Capital and Lazard. He holds an MBA from the University of Chicago.

Fang Wei joined Baidu in 2006 and has served as senior director of finance at Baidu since January 2012. Previously, Mr. Wei was Baidu's director of finance and senior manager of information disclosure. Prior to joining Baidu, he was an audit manager at KPMG. He holds a BA from Capital University of Economics and Business and a CEIBS EMBA.

"We are very pleased to welcome Liang Zeng, Yuming He and Fang Wei to Qunar's Board. Together, they bring a wide array of experience in sales and marketing, investment strategy and finance and their addition further deepens the strategic relationship between Qunar and Baidu," said Baidu's CEO and chairman of Qunar's board Mr. Robin Li . "Qunar's impressive business performance is a testament to the management team's robust execution capability, and these new board appointments further strengthen Qunar's ability to achieve its goal of becoming China's number one travel platform."

Qunar's CEO and co-founder CC Zhuang said: "On behalf of the entire Qunar team, I look forward to working with our board as we continue to innovate, grow our market share, and build value for all shareholders. Baidu is our largest shareholder, and its continued support and dedication to our long-term vision is a welcome pillar in our strategic platform. These new board members reflect the importance of our strategic partnership, as well as our commitment to further developing and executing opportunities for enhanced collaboration in a range of O2O initiatives and other related areas, including travel and payment."

As a result of new strategic collaboration initiatives between Qunar and Baidu, Qunar users will be able to access Baidu's extensive O2O supply chain in restaurant booking and food delivery, while Baidu will gain broader access to Qunar's travel products, expanding beyond hotels to park and attraction tickets, with more categories in the pipeline. Qunar is also an important Baidu Wallet merchant.

The two companies have been linked financially since Baidu paid about $306 million for just over 50 percent of Qunar’s stock in 2011.

Though investors have fretted about a slowdown of China’s economy, the Chinese government and analysts have contended that the travel industry has suffered no such drop. Chinese travelers booked about two billion trips in the first half of the year, up 10 percent from the same time a year ago, according to figures from the government. Qunar said it had experienced little decline in leisure travel business.

Original Press Release