The Ctrip logo. Image via Twitter
Chinese online travel site Ctrip announced today that it has received another investment from American online travel firm Priceline. Priceline and an unnamed long-term equity firm have each agreed to invest $500 million in the Chinese company via convertible bonds, totalling $1 billion.
Priceline has been interested in Ctrip for quite a long time now, having first linked up with the Chinese company back in 2012. It made a series of investments in the company in 2014, and this latest move will once again see Priceline buying into Ctrip via its US-listed stock shares.
When all’s said and done, Priceline could own as much as 15% of Ctrip.
In case you’re thinking this could all be headed towards an acquisition, though, it’s worth pointing out that Ctrip has other admirers. In fact, the company’s largest stakeholder is Chinese internet giant Baidu, which owns about 25% of Ctrip following a complex quasi-merger between Ctrip and local competitor Qunar earlier this year.
Still, Priceline and Ctrip’s partnership is increasingly important as Ctrip further expands its overseas operations. In addition to Priceline’s investment, the two companies
have a cooperative business arrangement that gives Ctrip access to some of Priceline’s resources. China is the world’s largest outbound tourism market and increasingly its travellers are using web and mobile services to plan and book their trips, which means the Ctrip/Priceline partnership could be vital to both parties in the coming years.