Online travel and outbound tourism were the favorite areas for acquisitions in China’s tourism industry in 2014, attracting the lion’s share of a total of RMB19 billion in investment (approx. US$3.1 billion, excluding tourism real estate investments) .
The biggest winners last year were Tunui, ilvxing, Lailaihui and Lvyouquan, each attracting financing to the tune of RMB100 million (US$16 million). Nine online travel startups like 6ren, Zhoumo Qunar and Haiwan each had two rounds of financing. In the outbound travel sector, up and coming startups like Nilai and Chuhaiwan also drew significant investor interest last year.
Meanwhile, traditional travel companies still attracted buyers – Beijing Country Holidays and Resorts Travel Service, Tianjin Haiyang Vacations and Qingdao CYTS were merged or acquired last year. Wanda Tourism went on a spending spree snapping up five regional tour operators in Shandong, Zhejiang, Nanjing, Hunan and Kunming last year.
According to Jinlu Consulting, acquisition investments in China’s rapidly growing tourism industry nearly doubled the total RMB10 billion (approx. US$1.6 billion) recorded in 2013.(Translation by David)