TravelDaily – Qunar has announced it will introduce a RMB1 billion incubation fund for OTA startups, supporting them with funding as well as an array of data interfaces and resources support via its cloud-based open platform.
“We offer a startup funding of at least RMB500,000 to anyone with a good idea,” said Qunar open platform director Hui Qiu. “The funding would be more, from a million up to tens of millions, if you already have an established working team.“
In exchange for the funding, recipients can choose to offer equity transfer or repay with low interest. “The interest rate of our funding is on par with the deposit rate of the Central Bank of China, making it a cost-efficient source of financing for startups,” Mr. Qiu said.
In addition, Qunar also provides operational support including data interfaces, a supply chain and customer resources. “For instance, a developer can leverage our top-notch engineering team to resolve technical issues rather than recruiting help,” he explained.
Online travel booking by netizens has been growing by leaps and bounds, with 12.57 million more people making bookings in the first half of the year, up 32.4% year-over-year, according to the 34th Statistical Report on the Internet Development of China.
Meanwhile, the China Tourism Institute forecasts that the travel industry will generate RMB3.3 trillion in revenue this year, but less than 10% of this will be from OTAs. As leading OTAs are still in the early stage of the race, there is still plenty of room to accelerate in this sector.(Translation by David)