Alibaba Group Holding Ltd said it would team up with U.S. hotel giant Marriott International Inc. to expand its online-travel footprint as more Chinese venture abroad.
Chinese consumers will be able to use Alibaba's travel-service website and app to book rooms in the more than 6,200 hotel properties world-wide that Bethesda, Maryland-based Marriott operates under such names as Marriott, Courtyard, Ritz-Carlton, Sheraton, Alibaba said Monday. They will also be able to use the same Alipay smartphone payment platform they use at home when they stay in Marriott properties abroad.
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Chinese e-commerce leader Alibaba, based in Hangzhou, is expanding beyond traditional retail categories such as clothing into entertainment and travel bookings as the Chinese appetite for world travel rises in tandem with income.
Alibaba's latest tie-up throws a challenge to China's largest travel website, Ctrip.com International Ltd, which in November acquired U.K. travel search engine Skyscanner Ltd. In the past year Ctrip has also invested in three U.S. travel operators and an Indian tourist search website, seeking to position itself as the first choice online for Chinese traveling abroad.
China's online travel-sales market this year will be worth 584 billion yuan ($86.9 billion), up more than 20% from 2016, forecasts industry researcher Euromonitor International.
Write to Liza Lin at Liza.Lin@wsj.com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
August 07, 2017 07:14 ET (11:14 GMT)