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

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…

TRAVEL: China Life Joins Overseas Hotel Train with US Buy

Bottom line: China Life’s $2 billion investment in a US hotel portfolio could mark the height of a bubble of Chinese  offshore hotel buying, and high asset values could start to deflate by the end of next year.

China Life buys into US hotel portfolio

Move over, Anbang. China’s largest insurer China Life (HKEx: 2628; Shanghai: 601628; NYSE: LFC) is joining a recent love affair between Chinese investors and overseas hotels, with the announcement that it’s leading a group investing in $2 billion worth of properties in the US. People following the trend will know that unlisted insurer Anbang has been leading this overseas charge, with its recent purchase of a US hotel portfolio for $6.5 billion and its failed bid earlier this year for hotel operator Starwood (NYSE: HOT). Read Full Post…

LEISURE: Spurned in France, China Hotelier Tries US Office Specialist WeWork

Bottom line: Jin Jiang’s $260 million investment in WeWork is part of the Chinese company’s global expansion, and could see the pair work together to accelerate a move of the shared office concept into China.

Shared office specialist gets backing from Jin Jiang

After getting a chilly reception in the US and France, Chinese companies eager to buy western hotel brands may be taking a different approach in their bid to go global. That appears to be the bottom line in a new move by state-run Chinese hotel giant Jin Jiang (HKEx: 2006; Shanghai: 600754), which has reportedly just invested $260 million in US shared office space operator WeWork.

Foreign hotels have become a flavor of the day for Chinese buyers looking to expand beyond their home market and import foreign expertise to improve their own operations. In addition to brands, Chinese companies have also developed a taste for big-name foreign hotels, led by the purchase of New York’s storied Waldorf Astoria by state-owned Chinese insurer Anbang nearly 2 years ago for an eye-popping price of nearly $2 billion. Read Full Post…

TRAVEL: Wanda Challenges Ctrip with Tongcheng Merger

Bottom line: Tongcheng’s merger with Wanda’s travel unit could create a strong new rival to counter Ctrip, and could become even stronger through a potential future tie-up or merger with HNA-backed Tuniu.

Tongcheng merges with Wanda Travel

For more than a year Internet giant Ctrip (Nasdaq: CTRP) has seemed almost invincible, buying up most of its major rivals one by one to consolidate its position as the nation’s leading travel agent. But the company may finally be coming up against a major rival in its bid to dominate the lucrative sector, with word that real estate and entertainment giant Wanda has bought up Tongcheng, one of Ctrip’s  last remaining  major rivals.

This particular tie-up is slightly unusual, as Ctrip previously invested around $200 million for a stake  that was reportedly as high as 30 percent in Tongcheng, according to media reports a couple of years ago. (previous post)  That would have valued Tongcheng at about $650 million, which is a fraction of the valuation of more than 20 billion yuan ($3 billion) that Tongcheng was worth, based on the latest investment by Wanda.  Read Full Post…

TRAVEL: Ctrip in $2.2 Bln Cash Raising, Offshore Buy in Sight?

Bottom line: Ctrip’s massive new bond and share offer could raise up to $2.2 billion, and portends a major offshore acquisition in the next 6 months.

Ctrip in $2.2 bln cash raising plan

Online travel agent Ctrip (Nasdaq: CTRP) has just announced a complex plan to raise up to $2.2 billion in cash, in one of the biggest fund-raising exercises I’ve seen by a Chinese Internet company. The huge sum, combined with Ctrip’s existing large cash reserves, raises the obvious question of what this fast-growing company might be planning to do with all that money. One obvious answer is that Ctrip is planning a major offshore acquisition, reflecting its new global aspirations after quietly eliminating most of its local competition to dominate the lucrative China market. Read Full Post…