Alibaba Group, the Chinese Internet giant that just closed a record-breaking US$25 billion IPO, has invested 2.81 billion yuan (around US$ 459 million) in Chinese hospitality information provider Beijing Shiji Information Technology Co., Ltd. via its online marketplace Taobao.
After the deal, Alibaba will hold a 15% stake and one position in board of directors in the latter.
Established in 1995, Shiji Information, a Shenzhen Stock Exchange-listed firm, is principally engaged in developing software that manages room reservations, purchasing, inventory, and point of sales systems, as well as broadband networks and billing systems.
According to the company, nearly 6,000 Chinese hotels use its services, including 90% of Chinese 5-star hotels. The company’s high-end clients includes Grand Hyatt, Sheraton, Hilton, Shangri-la, Marriott, Peninsula and Accor, etc.
Alibaba’s tourism unit Taobao Travel is expected to launch in-depth cooperation with Shiji Information in integrating hotel info system, membership system and mobile payment method, etc.
Alibaba has made several early moves to tap China’s burgeoning online travel market. After establishing an independent Travel Department last year, the company invested in a raft of companies related to online travel business, like social travel app 117go, outbound travel services of Qyer and ByeCity.