China’s Online Travel Sector Finds Big New Investment
Who said only Ctrip and eLong ruled the Chinese Internet travel world?
LY.com, one of China's many privately-run travel booking websites, announced that they have gained over CNY6 billion new investments from Wanda Culture Industry Group, Tencent Industry Win-Win Fund, and CITIC Capital.
As the lead investor, Wanda Culture Industry Group invested CNY3.58 billion in the tourism website.
For many years, investors in publicly-traded Chinese travel websites like Ctrip.com and eLong.com have assumed they had a large piece of China's Internet travel market. But with investments in LY.com, the recent IPO of Qunar.com, the expansion of B2B travel opportunities with 51MICE.com and millions of dollars worth of revenue flowing through dozens of other large travel websites, investors are waking up to the very large opportunity in China's travel sector.
Founded in 2004, LY.com already claims to have served about 30 million users in 2014, representing a growth of 100%. With the investment, Wanda Culture Industry Group and LY.com will begin a comprehensive strategic cooperation. Wanda's tourism business will be able to access online channels to gain customer resources, and LY.com will gain tourism destination resources and increase its trading volume.
Wang Jianlin, chairman of Wanda Group, said that by investing in LY.com, Wanda's tourism business will form a triumvirate structure, including a powerful online platform, an offline channel, and and large tourism destinations.
Wu Zhixiang, founder and CEO of LY.com, said that LY.com will begin its priority cooperation with Wanda's travel agencies, culture tourism cities, and offline business resources. In the future, the company will enhance investments in brand, mobile, research and development, big data, and market expansion.