Top Chinese online travel companies Qunar and CTrip have been dominating industry headlines of late.A recent article has surfaced signposting merger talks between the two companies, and has sparked the interest of international and local media such as Chinese publications Sina Tech and Xinhuanet, and has since reached the pages of international English outlet giants, Bloomberg and Reuters. However said stories are largely speculative and are being reported as “rumors”.
Sources suggest that Alibaba initially showed an interest in acquiring CTrip earlier this year. Alibaba is part of what is being dubbed, “The Internet Big Three”, a fold of dominant online players which also includes Baidu and Tencent (this collective is also commonly referred to as BAT).
It is therefore not surprising that news of Alibaba’s interest prompted Big Three counterpart, Baidu to initiate negotiations with CTrip via Baidu- owned Qunar, to stunt Alibaba’s attempt to strengthen its travel product offerings.
Since this development, Alibaba seems to be out of the running as Qunar is by far the more prominent of the two reported front runners in the race to dominate China’s online travel industry.
Said negotiations have not yet materialized officially, and neither of the companies concerned have made public statements on the matter.
Regardless of the details of any potential partnership with CTrip that comes to pass, the Chinese online travel industry looks likely to be shaken beyond recognition and monopolized should a merger occur.