Thomas Cook is to use its new partnership with Chinese conglomerate Fosun to create a new joint venture.
The company, which will be 51% owned by Fosun and 49% by Cook, will develop domestic, inbound and outbound tourism activities for the Chinese market under Thomas Cook brands.
In March Fosun bought a 5% stake in Cook and could up its holding to 10% over time. It also owns resort operator Club Med.
Reto Wilhelm, currently managing director of Cook’s eastern and western European businesses, will take up the position of general manager.
Each side has agreed to contribute £780,000 to fund the start-up phase of the business.
The joint venture will be up and running in the autumn and will be based in Shanghai.
Peter Fankhauser, chief executive of Cook, said: “Today marks a significant milestone in our strategic partnership with Fosun.
“We are excited at the prospects of entering the largest and fastest-growing tourism market in the world with such an experienced partner.”
Qian Jiannong, president of Fosun’s tourism and commercial Group, said: “We are delighted to work with Thomas Cook, the world’s best known name in travel, to develop a leading travel business serving the growing number of Chinese travellers.
“Today, there is a lack of innovation and differentiation in the travel product offerings for Chinese tourists in China and abroad, presenting an excellent opportunity for our new joint venture to gain a competitive advantage.”
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