Expedia does not offer a Chinese Web site, yet. It does have the next best thing though, a majority share of eLong, a Chinese-based travel Web site.
Here is an interesting article about the brewing battle for dominance of one of the fastest-growing travel markets in the world.
In fact, if you book a hotel in China using Expedia, you may already be using eLong and not even know it. According to the article…
- Justin Tang, chief executive of eLong, says his company has begun supplying some of the Chinese hotel inventory in Expedia. It has also entered into an alliance with Visa, becoming the first Chinese online travel site to accept payment by credit card.
But Web-based travel sites are still largely a novelty in China.
- …foreign business strategies do not always work in China. The Chinese online market is unique – 70 to 80 percent of online travel reservations originate on the telephone, he says, and not on the Internet.
Nevertheless, the market is young and expansion appears inevitable. Currently, only 5 percent of all hotel bookings and 1 or 2 percent of airline reservations are done online.
Survey firm iResearch forecasts the online travel market will grow to 2.8 billion yuan by 2007, nearly five times’ last year’s 610 million yuan.