February 6, 2012
  • Rakuten Travel, Inc.

Rakuten Travel opens three new China branches to support growth
New service for air ticket sales also launched

  Rakuten Travel, Inc. (“Rakuten Travel,” President and CEO: Masashi Okatake, Head Office: Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo) is launching new offices for its China subsidiary Tabimado to strengthen its operations and network in the country. New branches will open in Nanjing, Hangzhou, and Qingdao in mid-February. Rakuten Travel will also launch a new service for air ticket sales in China that is the result of a business tie-up with Chinese online travel site “Kairaku e-ko ” provider ET Solution (“ET Solution,”COO: Munekatsu Ota , Head Office: Beijing) through China Online Travel Ltd (President: Hiroyuki Kamata, Head Office: Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo) , which became a full subsidiary of Rakuten Travel in August 2011.

Rakuten Travel has been supplying online services in China since the creation of its subsidiary in Shanghai in 2002, and has opened branches in Beijing, Guangzhou, and Dalian. It has principally focused on managing hotel bookings in China for Japanese travelers. For Chinese travelers, it provides an online travel service through “Shanghai Tabimado,” a domestic online accommodation booking service.  

The opening of three new branches - bringing the network to seven - will extend the range of available hotel room inventory in even more regions of China. By having branches in three ANA destination cities, the number of hotels and rooms accessible to customers of the fast-growing and dynamic “ANA RakPak” offer can be expected to expand, increasing the number of Japanese tourists to China.

Meanwhile, for Chinese travelers, the inventory of registered accommodation providers and available rooms has been increased around China through Shanghai Tabimado, but Rakuten Travel aims to provide an even more convenient website platform. The new partnership enables sales of domestic and international air tickets through ET Solution. This service will begin via the Kairaku e-ko platform. Rakuten Travel is also considering offering tickets through Shanghai Tabimado in the future.     

  This new alliance with ET Solution not only strengthens Rakuten Travel’s presence in China, but also improves service for Chinese domestic travelers. The next step will be to partner with Rakuten Travel and access its inventory of accommodations in Japan to boost inbound travel from China.

China’s online travel market was worth 35.6 billion RMB (around 440 billion yen) in 2010, and is growing rapidly, recording a year over year increase of 36%.* While only around 8% of the travel market is currently online, it is expected to continue to grow double digit rates. The online travel market in 2012 is forecasted to grow to 52.9 billion RMB (approximately 660 billion yen). (1)

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the normalization of Sino-Japanese relations, and tourist traffic is expected to increase between the countries. Rakuten Travel will continue to boost its overseas operations in China and beyond.

(1): 1 RMB = 12.4 yen

* Source: PhoCusWright, Asia Pacific Online Travel overview

■ET Solution

ET Solution is a prominent Chinese online travel company that was established in 2004. Its “Kairaku e-ko” website (http://www.etpass.com/) mainly focuses on domestic and international air tickets for the Chinese market and accommodation bookings within China. It currently has 400,000 members.

Reference information

◆ Travel overseas offices and dates of establishment
・Shanghai Tabimado Co., Ltd.                                                  April 30, 2002
・Rakuten Travel Korea Co., Ltd. (Seoul branch)                         January 5, 2004
・Rakuten Travel Guam Inc.                           March 12, 2007
・Rakuten Travel Inc., Bangkok office                                     June 9, 2008
・Shanghai Tabimado Co., Ltd. (Beijing branch)            August 20, 2009
・Rakuten Travel Inc., Hong Kong branch                 August 7, 2009
・Rakuten Travel Inc., Taiwan branch                       September 22, 2009
・Rakuten Travel Inc., Hawaii branch                       October 6, 2009
*affiliated with Rakuten Travel USA Inc. (since January 1, 2011)
・Shanghai Tabimado Co., Ltd. (Guangzhou branch)      July 15, 2010
・Shanghai Tabimado Co., Ltd. (Dalian branch)             September 20, 2010
・Rakuten Travel USA Inc., New York branch                           December 23, 2010
・Rakuten Travel Korea Co., Ltd. (Pusan branch)                      July 6, 2011
・Rakuten Travel Lounge, Saipan                                     August 1, 2011

*Please note that the information contained in press releases is current as of the date of release.

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