Zhuang Chenchao, CEO of Qunar, the Chinese online travel booking service which recored RMB hundreds of millions in sales with 100% year-over-year growth last year, said that the company is considering getting listed in the States once “market has been stabilized”， he didn’t reveal if there’s an exact timing table though.
Jenna Qian, the company’s spokesperson said in last September that Qunar scheduled to go public in 2012.
Qunar started providing Chinese Internet users with easy-to-use price engine indexing flight tickets, hotel rooms. The Beijing-based company quickly discerned the latest trends in online travel booking and wisely adapted them into China web through the introduction of several new products including Priceline-like reverse auction, Qunar’s Last Minute deals, group buying and so on. Qunar now provides over 700 daily travel deals in more than 100 Chinese cities and leads China’s travel group-buying market, according to Jenna.
Baidu made US$ 306 million strategic investment in Qunar in last June to become the largest institutional investor of the Beijing-based company. Prior to the investment, which is the largest one in China online travel forefront, Qunar raised an aggregate of US$ 27 million in three rounds of funding from investors ranging from GGV Capital to GSR Ventures, Mayfield Fund, Teneya Capital and so forth.
As we mentioned before, Qunar topped China OTA (online travel agency) market with a percentage of visits of over 42% in this November in a report compiled by market researcher Experian Hitwise. Jenna Qian told TechNode that Qunar has made lots of efforts to enhance the scope of travel products it covers, like those from existing travel suppliers and in-house productions. They are also dedicated to bringing Chinese travel businesses online, for example, to equip a large amount of offline or regional travel agencies, many independent hotels with highly efficient technology platform.
Zhuang once commented on China online travel market after the company’s US$ 10 million Series B round of funding saying that the penetration is less than 10% here with comparison to the State’s 70%, so there’s plenty room for future growth. iResearch, the Beijing-based market researcher concurred his statement in a research out lately claiming that China OTA market will be seeing steady growth in the next four years. For 2011, transaction volume in the forefront reached RMB 167.2 billion (US$ 26.4 billion), up 61.3% from the year earlier, iResearch said.
Boston Consulting Group predicted that by 2013 China might replace Japan as the second largest travel market, only next to the U.S..
Fan Ming, Ctrip CEO rebutted Hitwise’s research recently saying Qunar is ten years behind the long-established travel booking service. And, Ctrip’s share dropped more than 40% over the past 12 months.