Travel Site Priceline Injects $500M In China’s Ctrip

Connecticut-based online travel booking website Priceline Group Inc. plans to invest US$500 million via subscribing convertible bonds in Shanghai-based travel service group International Ltd. to strengthen their global partnership, according to a joint announcement.

The world’s largest travel group may hold up to 10% of Ctrip’s outstanding shares upon the purchase of convertible bond.

Priceline will also acquire the right to appoint an observer to the Ctrip board of directors.

Priceline and Ctrip started to establish a commercial relationship in 2012, allowing them to increase their cross-promotion of each company’s hotel inventory and other travel services.

"Travel to and from China is growing rapidly, and through this partnership, we have an opportunity to further help the world experience China, and China experience the world," says Darren Huston, president & CEO of Priceline.

Founded in 1999,  Ctrip is the largest consolidator of hotel accommodations and air tickets in China in terms of the volume of the transactions booked by the end customers.

With its operational headquarters in Shanghai, it has branches in nine other major cities in China, including Beijing, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Hong Kong, Xiamen, Wuhan, Chengdu, Qingdao and Shenyang. The company also maintains a network of sales offices in about 45 cities in China.