Alibaba plans to rebrand its travel division, Taobao Travel to tap into the growing and booming online tourism segment in China. The unit will be rebranded as Alitrip. In a recent press meet, Alibaba stated that its new portal will have more than 10,000 merchants for airlines, which will include Cathay Pacific and Agoda.com. Additionally the new unit will also provide hotel bookings and package tours. Alitrip will also manage a separate segment for visa applications and tour guide services.
With this move, Alibaba intends to eat into the huge market share of Ctrip, a Nasdaq listed company. Presently, Ctrip makes holds a market share of 54.1% in China tourism business with profit from flight sales and hotel-room bookings. In the quarter, April to June 2014 Ctrip’s revenue grew to USD 10.04 billion. According to iResearch, this figure is expected to reach USD 12.35 in 2016.
Alibaba has been investing in this plan for quite some time. Last month, the company spent around USD 457 million to acquire 15% stake in Beijin Shiji Information Technology, a firm that will provide software and technical support to the hotel services on the portal.
Li Shaohua, Alitrip’s general manager stated that this is a logical move for Alibaba as it will help them boost their travel sector and raise their incomes to an all new high.