The spate of consolidations between Chinese tech companies continues as yet another industry rivalry is settled in a multi-billion dollar partnership.
Ctrip.com International Ltd. and Baidu-backed Qunar Cayman Islands Ltd. have announced a matchup today that will have a valued worth of approximately $15.6 billion USD.
Unlike other recent match-ups in the market, Qunar and Ctrip’s partnership involves a share swap rather than a straight acquisition or a merger. Baidu will take on 25% of Ctrip, while Ctrip will take approximately 45% of Qunar.
Ctrip CEO James Liang will join Qunar’s board of directors along with COO Jane Sun. Baidu CEO Robin Li and Tony Yip, head of Baidu investments, will join Ctrip’s board in return.
Ctrip is worth roughly double Qunar at $10.6 billion USD. The larger company attempted a complete buyout of Qunar just under six months ago, but the deal was rejected.
According to Bloomberg data, the latest partnership bring the total value of Chinese internet deals to $62.5 billion USD over the past year. Major deals include the $6 billion USD merger between Alibaba’s Kuaidi Dache and Tencent’s Didi Dache and the $15 billion USD matchup between Dianping and Meituan.
Baidu has been aggressively investing in its O2O services in 2015, a strategy that has seen it cut deeply into net profits. Like other internet giants they have been heavily subsidizing several of their services, including group-buying site Nuomi and Qunar, in an attempt to grab market share early. It’s a strategy that is seeming more and more logical as tech giants strive to monopolize the market through multi-billion dollar partnerships.
Buying into such a large cut of the online travel industry is a long awaited win for Baidu, who have found themselves on the outskirts of an increasingly close relationship between contemporaries Tencent and Alibaba.
Baidu’s Nuomi competes directly with the newly merged Meituan-Dianping duo, a partnership between stakes held by Alibaba and Tencent. At the same time the Baidu-backed Uber China arm is in fierce competition with the Ali-Tencent ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing (Didi Kuaidi).
Both Tencent and Alibaba have made their respective investments in online travel, though the latest matchup between Ctrip and Qunar easily makes up the largest single online travel service in the market.