Taobao launches online travel platform

0 CommentsPrint E-mail Global Times, August 25, 2010
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Taobao Tuesday confirmed to the Global Times that it is formally launching an online travel platform, challenging online plane ticket sellers like Ctrip.

"Our daily ticket sales hit 10,000 in the test run from May to August this year, and could be the biggest online ticket sales platform by the end of this year, exceeding Ctrip," said Zhu Jian, an employee with the public relations department with Taobao, Tuesday.

Chui Xue, the person who is responsible for the travel platform with Taobao, said it hopes its travel tickets sales are 1.5 times than that of Ctrip by the end of this year.

Taobao, run under Alibaba, is China's largest consumer-to-commerce online marketplace, and its users exceeded 200 million by August this year.

Currently, there are four airlines, including China Eastern and Joy Airlines, that have opened shops there, as well as more than 200 tickets agencies.

However, Sun Chonghui, an industry analyst from iResearch, an online market research company, Tuesday told the Global Times that Taobao should focuse on how to improve its service, "because servicing a large number of users is totally different from what they're working on now."

"Ctrip is more professional in terms of services and user-friendliness," Sun added.

Ye Ping, spokeswoman for travel service provider, Tuesday said that she can hear some customers complaining that the ticket prices on Taobao fluctuate dramatically, even after purchase.

In a written reply to Tuesday, Ctrip said the core of the online travel market is stable and reliable service, adding Ctrip sells one ticket per second, compared with eight seconds per ticket for Taobao.

"Although there are more plane ticket agencies involved in the online distribution market, they still lag behind Ctrip," said the country's leading online ticket sales firm.

Figures from iResearch said the revenue of third-party online travel agencies hit 1.28 billion yuan ($188.33 million) in the second quarter of this year, up 41.4 percent year-on-year, and Ctrip account-ed for 53.6 percent of the market.

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