Ctrip.com International Ltd. has more room to expand at home and abroad as Chinese travel demand grows, Chief Executive Officer Jane Sun said.
A slowing Chinese economy wouldn't dampen Chinese consumers' desire to travel and Ctrip will likely benefit as consumers become more affluent, Ms. Sun said at The Wall Street Journal's D.Live Asia conference in Hong Kong on Friday.
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China's largest online travel platform acquired Scotland-based flight search operator Skyscanner and increased its stake in Indian online travel agency MakeMyTrip Ltd. in the past year as it sought to expand its global market share.
Skyscanner, which Ctrip acquired for $1.7 billion in November, will help the Chinese firm enter the U.S., Europe, and South American markets, The Nasdaq-listed company hopes to expand Skyscanner's service into buying train tickets and renting cars, she said.
In the U.S., the company invested in three tour operators specializing in group travel for Chinese tourists after noticing strengthening demand for travel from Chinese consumers, Ms. Sun said. Demand is likely to rise as U.S. visa restrictions for Chinese travelers ease and more younger Chinese look to study in the country, she said.
"In the global space, Ctrip is still an infant, we are very excited about the opportunities to come," she said. In China, the company still has the space to expand into smaller cities, Ms. Sun added.
Despite Ctrip's access to a war chest of $5 billion in cash, Ms Sun said the company is very picky about using the money for acquisitions. Targets not only have to be related to their core travel business, but they also need to be industry leaders and have reasonable valuations.
"Many companies would like to partner with Ctrip," she said.
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
June 09, 2017 04:52 ET (08:52 GMT)