Japanese multinational SoftBank starts travel agency targeting Chinese customers
- Posted by Daniel Meesak
- On 4th November 2015
- alitrip, chinese, ctrip, FIT, japan, ota, qunar, softbank, tourism
Following the sharp rise in Chinese tourists visiting Japan, the Japanese multinational SoftBank Group – best known for its position as one of Japan’s largest cell phone carriers and recently acquiring American carrier Sprint – is now looking to enter the Chinese tourism market by launching a travel agency in China.
The new travel agency is aiming for the growing Chinese independent traveller market segment, instead of targeting the Chinese group package tourism market which is more commonly associated with Chinese tourists in Japan.
Speaking to the Wall Street Journal, a SoftBank spokeswoman said, “So far, the so-called ‘golden route’ for large tour groups centers on major cities like Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto,” and continues. “But we plan to cater to the needs of the increasing number of independent travellers.”
The new company is formed as a fully owned subsidiary of SoftBank group, and will be listed on the recently launched Alitrip travel marketplace in China, a service run by Chinese IT-giant Alibaba. The decision not to cooperate with market leader Ctrip or Qunar can likely be attributed to Softbank’s 37% stake in Alibaba after a $20 million investment fifteen years ago.
As COTRI reported last week, competition in the fast-growing Chinese tourism market is heating up, with large Chinese internet companies scrambling to gain market share. With the news of SoftBank now also entering the market, it appears as if the Chinese tourism gold rush has reached global proportions.
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Source: Wall Street Journal