Ctrip, the Chinese travel booking site, went public on Dec 9, 2003. Eight year later, to many people’s surprise, the largest travel service of its kind in China now enjoys a market capitalization of over 5.907 billion US dollars, only second to Baidu, ranking even before long-standing portals like Sina, NetEase and Sohu and online game powerhouse such as Shanda.

Founded in 1999 by Ji Qi, Shen Nanpeng, Fan Ming and Liang Jianzhang, Ctrip offers flight tickets booking, hotels booking and vacation tour service to its customers. According to its 2010 annual report, Ctrip’s 2010 net income grew 45% year over year to US$ 437 million. For the first financial season in 2011, its net income grew 30% year over year to US$ 117 million.

Although many don’t consider Ctrip as a hardcore internet business for a large part of its operation runs offline, the booking service boasts a market capitalization that every internet company would dream of. And according to Chinese market research firm iResearch, Ctrip holds over 50% of travel booking market in China, while Qunar, eLong and many others take over the leftovers.

In all respects, Ctrip is a successful business that generates consistent and sizable revenue with decent shareholder return. For its four founders, after nearly 5 years’ immense and painstaking labor, successful IPO brought them both big fortune and widespread fame.

New Ventures

After Ctrip, the four young and restless founders went on with new ventures. Interestingly but not surprisingly, their new businesses all related to travel and hotel business more or less. Ji Qi founded Home Inn in 2002, which has now grown into China’s largest budget hotel operator and eventually listed in Nasdaq on Oct 26, 2006. Later on Ji founded another hotel chain HanTing Inns and Hotels, targeting businessman with slightly higher price than Home Inn in order to differentiate markets. HanTing also listed in Nasdaq on March 26 last year.

For Shen Nanpeng, he joined Sequoia Capital China as partner. Liang Jianzhang resigned from Ctrip as CEO to study in the U.S. While Fan Ming serves as CEO till now. He also founded Starway Hotel, the hotel subsidiary of Ctrip.

And some ex-Ctrip executives also had a thing about hospitality industry. Wu Hai who used to serve as VP of Ctrip started his own Orange Hotel in 2006, while Zhen Nanyan, the VP of Ctrip founded 7DaysInn, another Chinese budget hotel chain in 2005, which listed in NYSE on Nov 20, 2009.

Ben Jiang

Listener of startups, writer on tech. Maker of things, dreamer by choice.

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