Travel/Leisure

Latest Business News about Travel , Leisure, Tourism industry in China

INTERNET: Ofo Withdraws from 14 Cities, Settles Complaint

Bottom line: The departure of Ofo from 14 cities reflects growing frustration by local officials with bike sharing services, and could be followed by more expulsions until the industry consolidates to a single major player.

The honeymoon seems to be rapidly ending for China’s cash-rich shared bike services, with word that Ofo, one of the oldest players, is withdrawing from 14 cities in its bid to figure out what exactly it’s doing. At the same time, media are reporting that Ofo has also settled a dispute with a customer who was injured when his brakes failed while he was biking downhill in Beijing.

These stories highlight just a couple of the many issues that Ofo and Mobike, the industry’s other leader, will face as they pedal into uncharted territory with their innovative but problematic services. Reflecting the looming consolidation that’s coming, one of my sources tells me that BlueGogo, one of the larger late arrivals to the scene, is currently shopping itself but is apparently finding little or no interest. Read Full Post…

LEISURE: Legoland Builds in Shanghai, Royal Caribbean Steers Clear of Korea

Bottom line: Legoland’s new Shanghai theme park spotlights the growing lure of China’s leisure travel market, while Royal Caribbean’s removal of South Korean ports from its China-based trips spotlights how political tensions can affect tourism-reliant businesses.

Legoland coming to China

A couple of Shanghai-based leisure stories are spotlighting two very different trends in China’s leisure travel sector, where a burgeoning middle-class is seeking new and interesting vacation ideas. On the more upbeat side, one of Europe’s top theme park developers is expressing a major vote of confidence in the market, with word that the developer of Legoland theme parks will open one of its mega-resorts in Shanghai. But on the downside, the country’s largest cruise operator, Royal Caribbean (NYSE: RCL), has removed South Korean ports from its China-based trips amid growing frictions between Beijing and Seoul over a controversial missile defense system. Read Full Post…

GAMES: NetEase Eyes Real Journey to the West

Bottom line: NetEase’s new global expansion could stand a good chance of success due to its strong record with self-developed titles, which could help it pass Baidu in market value over the next 1-2 years.

NetEase holds developer forum in San Francisco

The company that made its name from a series of games based on the famous Chinese novel Journey to the West is trying to turn that story into reality, as NetEase (Nasdaq: NTES) eyes expansion outside its home market. The West contained in NetEase’s latest announcement is quite different from the West in the classic novel, the former referring to North America and Europe while the latter refers to India.

But other similarities between the novel and this new global expansion do abound in NetEase’s new announcement that it has just held its first-ever developer’s forum in the West. In both cases, the main character is traveling into unfamiliar terrain in pursuit of major rewards. And in both cases, each faces big challenges before attaining those goals. Read Full Post…

TRAVEL: Ctrip Revs up in Q4, Set to Soar?

Bottom line: Ctrip’s profits could double or more this year following its successful digestion of Qunar, providing some upside to its stock.

Ctrip shares set to take off?

As earnings season for US-listed Chinese stocks hits full throttle, I thought I’d take a look at the latest results from Ctrip (Nasdaq: CTRP), which are sending mixed but generally positive signals. That’s because Ctrip is in the process of digesting former archrival Qunar (Nasdaq: QUNR), which was the industry’s second largest player but is also losing quite a bit of money.

Ctrip pulled off the coup of the century a couple of years ago when it forged a deal that gave it a controlling stake of Qunar, acquiring the shares from former majority shareholder Baidu (Nasdaq: BIDU). I personally thought that deal should have received some regulatory scrutiny since it combined the top two players in the space. But the regulator apparently thought otherwise, or simply approved the deal if it was even asked. Read Full Post…

SPORTS: Soccer Investing Reaches Fever Pitch with IDG Joint Venture

Bottom line: IDG’s new investment in a French soccer club and related joint venture providing soccer training and consulting in China looks like a savvy move to monetize growing demand for sports-related services.

IDG brings French soccer to China

Corporate China’s recent love affair with sports shows no signs of easing as 2016 winds down, with word of a new investment that will see IDG Capital form a joint venture to bring European-caliber soccer training to China. This particular deal was first reported back in August, but it seems a formal agreement has just been signed between IDG, one of the most successful foreign venture capital firms in China, and France’s Lyon Group. Read Full Post…

SPORTS: Wanda Pedals to Guilin in China Sports Tour

Bottom line: Wanda’s first major made-for-China sporting event, a bicycle tour of scenic Guangxi province, looks like a well-conceived initiative that could auger well for its longer-term effort to tap the Chinese sports market.

Wanda launch Guangxi cycling event

Following its opening of several massive theme parks across China, entertainment aspirant Wanda Group has just announced the launch of what it hopes will become one of the nation’s premier sporting events that can earn a place on the global bicycling map. That announcement has Wanda pedaling its new Tour of Guangxi event, which will take cyclists through one of China’s most scenic provinces that includes the famous craggy mountains surrounding the city of Guilin. Read Full Post…

INTERNET: NetEase Outgames Tencent, Porks Up

Bottom line: NetEase’s finish at the top of a global ranking for mobile game downloads attests to its rising status in the sector, while the pork business of its founder Ding Lei also appears to be gaining traction after years of effort. 

NetEase mobile games top Tencent in October

Perennial runner-up NetEase (Nasdaq: NTES) has suddenly vaulted into the champion’s spot on China’s mobile game leader board, unexpectedly passing Tencent (HKEx:) in an important metric for their industry. The surprise move is probably a fluke, and I expect Tencent will retake the top spot in the next rankings for most sales from online mobile game app downloads compiled by App Annie. Still, it does underscore why I’ve previously said that NetEase is probably the most underappreciated company among China’s top Internet players. Read Full Post…

TRAVEL: Ctrip Flies Abroad with Skyscanner, as Profits Wobble

Bottom line: Ctrip’s latest results and its first major overseas purchase point to a company with the wind at its back as it heads into a new phase, which could see it become China’s first globally competitive Internet company.

Ctrip buys Skyscanner

High-flying online travel agent Ctrip (Nasdaq: CTRP) is taking its first major flight overseas, with announcement that it has just agreed to buy travel search specialist Skyscanner in a deal that values the British company at a hefty 1.4 billion pounds ($1.65 billion). At the same time, Ctrip has also reported earnings that show its bottom line is suffering some short-term pain as it swallows the profit-challenged Qunar (Nasdaq: QUNR), a former bitter rival that Ctrip now controls. Read Full Post…

TRAVEL: HNA Flies to US with $6.5 Bln Hilton Stake Buy

Bottom line: HNA’s $6.5 billion investment in Hilton marks a new high point in Chinese global hotel buying, and signals the trend may be cresting and a downturn could come next year.

HNA invests in Hilton

After I said just last week that China’s recent buying binge of foreign hotels may have crested, we’re seeing yet another blockbuster deal that seems to support that thesis. This latest deal is the biggest to date, and has the acquisitive HNA Group buying 25 percent of US hotel giant Hilton (NYSE: HLT) for about $6.5 billion. That would easily eclipse the other recent blockbuster deal announced just last week, when insurance giant China LIfe (HKEx: 2628; Shanghai: 601628; NYSE: LFC) said it was leading a Chinese group that would invest $2 billion in a portfolio of lower-end US hotels. (previous post) Read Full Post…

LEISURE: Wanda Hires from Disney, Google in Global Talent Hunt

Bottom line: China’s Wanda Group will continue a recent trend of hunting for top global talent to build its growing entertainment empire, as it seeks to challenge the likes of Disney.

The aggressively expanding Wanda Group is filling up its ranks with foreign-trained China veterans as it tries to challenge the likes of global names like Disney (NYSE: DIS) with moves into the movie and theme park spaces. Now the company is going on a major shopping spree for top talent from some of those companies, led by new reports that it has just poached a top Disney theme park executive to head its own theme park division. At the same time, other reports are pointing out that Wanda also recently hired Google’s (Nasdaq: GOOG) former top China executive to help lead its Internet division. Read Full Post…

TRAVEL: Ctrip Takes Aim at Airbnb with Tujia Tie-Up

Bottom line: Homestay specialist Tujia could make a play to  merge with the China operations of Airbnb, following its major new tie-up with leading online travel sites Ctrip and Qunar. 

Ctrip ties with Tujia

Leading online travel agent Ctrip (Nasdaq: CTRP) is back to doing what it knows best, neutralizing competition through formation of savvy alliances with its rivals. In this case the company is taking aim at the market for short-term stays at private homes, with its announcement of a major new tie-up with homegrown industry leader Tujia. That alliance is seeing Ctrip merge its own homestay business with Tujia, in what looks like a clear shot at global leader and sector pioneer Airbnb. Read Full Post…