Ocean Link, the first private equity firm focused on the fast-growing travel and tourism sector in China, today announced its strategic partnership with Ctrip, the largest online travel agency in China, and General Atlantic, a leading global growth equity firm.
Founded in early 2016, Ocean Link deploys both RMB- and USD-denominated funds to invest strategically and selectively across the broad value chain and sub-verticals of the travel and tourism industry in China including hotels and resorts, attractions, online and offline travel agencies and operators, transportation services, and related business solutions providers.
The firm’s initial investments include eLong, a leading mobile and online travel agency in China, Mind Education, a leading provider in China of educational tours and summer camps, Joint Wisdom, a full solution data analytics services provider for China’s hotel industry, and Ruby Hotels, a Europe-based hotel chain leading the “lean luxury” concept with expansion plans to Asia.
As a result of the new strategic partnership, Ctrip and General Atlantic both have the right to appoint a director to the board of Ocean Link.
“The travel and tourism sector in China is at a pivotal period of growth. The industry’s ongoing transition will provide Ocean Link with ample opportunities to bring capital and operational expertise to innovative companies serving the rising number of travelers in this market. Leveraging the insights and experience of Ocean Link’s investment team and the support from Ctrip and General Atlantic, we will aim to identify attractive investments in the rapidly expanding travel and tourism sector,” said Mr. James Liang, Co-Founder, Chairman, and Chief Executive Officer of Ctrip, who lends his industry insights after founding Ctrip in 1999, now the largest online travel agency in China providing accommodation reservation, transportation ticketing, packaged tours, and corporate travel management.
China’s tourism sector has grown steadily over the past decade as Chinese nationals increase their travel both in and out of the country. According to data released by the China National Tourism Administration earlier this year, from 2014 to 2015, the total number of Chinese residents travelling domestically rose 10.5% to 4 billion, while the total number of Chinese residents travelling internationally rose 12% to 120 million. In addition, the total number of Chinese residents travelling internationally is expected to double from 120 million in 2015 to 220 million in 2025, according to Goldman Sachs Global Investment Research from November 2015.