Ctrip, the leading online travel service provider, was listed on NASDAQ in 2003; Alibaba Group, led by Jack Ma and owner of Alibaba.com, Taobao.com, Alipay and China Yahoo! now has about 22,000 employees across 60 cities and regions (wikipedia).

According to this report, in a trip to U.S days ago, Jack Ma was meeting with Ctrip and seeking for a ‘very close’ partnership. The discussion includes the possible acquisition, the report says.

If the ‘partnership’ is confirmed, Alibaba group will own around 55.6% online air-flight tickets booking market in China, thanks to Ctrip. Bearing in mind that, Alibaba group also runs its own air-flight tickets booking service on Taobao.

In China, other popular online air-tickets booking services include eLong, Qunar etc, and portals such as 163 is also in this market.