Tongcheng-Elong Holdings Limited, a leading player in China’s online travel industry, today announced that it has signed an exclusive strategic partnership in Thailand with Rabbit-LINE Pay Company, an integrated mobile payment platform embedded in LINE, a Japanese messaging app popular in many countries throughout Asia. Tongcheng-Elong’s online travel booking platform TravelGo.com, operated by eLong International Travel Limited, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Tongcheng-Elong, will provide exclusive online transportation and accommodation reservation services for LINE users in Thailand.
LINE, originally from Japan, is one of the most popular messaging apps in Thailand and other countries in Asia. It has over 46 million users in Thailand, accounting for more than 65% of the total number of mobile internet users in the region. With a messaging system at its cornerstone, LINE’s ecosystem provides a wide range of services, including content, social networking, games, financial services, digital payments, etc. Rabbit-LINE Pay is a joint venture between LINE, Rabbit, Thailand’s first e-wallet service provider, and Advanced Info Service Public Co., Ltd., Thailand's largest telecommunications carrier. Rabbit-LINE Pay is one of the country’s leading digital payment platforms serving 8 million registered users, with an MAU ratio of 60%.
Established in 2018, TravelGo.com has provided online travel booking services in Chinese, English and Thai languages to international users. The strategic cooperation with Rabbit-LINE Pay will enable TravelGo.com to bring seamless online travel booking services to more than 46 million LINE users in Thailand. As the exclusive partner for the online travel services of Rabbit-LINE Pay, TravelGo.com will allow local residents in Thailand to book flights, buses and hotels through the LINE app. Currently, LINE users can access Rabbit-LINE Pay by clicking “wallet” in the LINE app, and then by directly clicking “Flight” and “Bus” buttons respectively to book tickets. The service of hotel booking is scheduled to launch at the beginning of 2021.
“Tongcheng-Elong is pleased to partner with Rabbit-LINE Pay to share our success in mobile traffic management with our partner, as well as to provide local Thai residents with high-quality online travel services,” said Mr. Qiang Wang, Chief Operating Officer of Tongcheng-Elong. “We look forward to exploring opportunities in the mobile travel market in Thailand together with Rabbit-LINE Pay.”
“The cooperation with TravelGo.com signals a great starting point for both parties to provide high-quality mobile travel services to Thai people as well as enriching LINE user experiences,” said Mr. Victor Topoyosakul, CEO of Rabbit-LINE Pay.
As part of this partnership, LINE will introduce the use of TravelGo.com for online travel booking on the LINE app as well as in offline advertisements in transportation scenarios including bus stations and airports in Thailand, which will help residents become familiar with the service. Through this business partnership with Rabbit-LINE Pay, Tongcheng-Elong is able to tap potentials in the Thai market and reach tens of millions of local users in Thailand, strengthening the company’s leadership in volume.
As 2019 year-end, Chinese internet giant Tencent Holdings held a 22% stake in Tongcheng-Elong, according to the online travel company's annual report.