Alibaba Group, a Chinese e-commerce site, has officially announced about the strategic investment in outbound travel site Qyer.com to enhance its offerings related to its travel site Taobao. Other details of the investment have not been disclosed.
Deal to enhance travel site Taobao
In a statement, Alibaba noted that investment in Qyer.com will assist travel site Taobao Travel, giving travel related services and content to users. Users will get better facility through one stop shop, which will be created with the acquisition of Qyer.com. It will further allow users to research and connect with other travel enthusiasts along with purchasing travel packages and deals.
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After investment in Qyer.com, Taobao will get an opportunity to increase its offerings in outbound travel, which will increase the demand of its other services and enhance the customer base. Taobao was set up in 2010, and was seen as a competitor of Ctrip.
Qyer.com was launched in 2004, and covers around 40,000 destinations worldwide. Services such as air ticket booking, hotel reservation and visa arrangements are provided by this site. Qyer boasts a customer base of 10 million users at present, including 5 million mobile users.
Alibaba group set up their Travel Department in January 2013, by bringing together various businesses. According to Alibaba, turnover of Taobao crossed one trillion yuan in 2011.
Alibaba on investment spree
Alibaba is on an investment spree recently and according to 36Kr reports, investments could be around tens of millions of dollars. In April, Alibaba invested “several million dollars” in online travelogue service 117go.com
Jonathan Lu, Chief executive of Alibaba will continue the investments in different firms in a bid to enhance its service on mobile. Lu is focusing on virtual ‘mall’ for brands Tmall and eBay-like Taobao marketplace, to employ customer data in a better way to bring out different and customized user experiences.
Alibaba’s rapid investment into the travel related services coincide with the target of making its presence stronger in all segments of e-commerce. CEO Lu also stated that $586 million outlay in Sina Weibo and $294 million investment in mapping firm Autonavi are not the only deals, as the company is looking forward to enter into other similar beneficial deals.
Alibaba is expected to list on Hong Kong Stock exchange before the year end, and the market value could reach up to $70 billion.