Mailman X Business Weekly | August 10th

Here are China’s top tourism business news that you need to know from this week:

Visit Britain Searches for a Chinese Airline Partner

The search is backed up by a £6 million contract and is aimed at finding a partner with “strong networks” across Chinese cities. Chinese visitors to the UK jumped 29% in 2017, reaching a record high of 337,000 visitors. Read here for more (English).

  • Mailman X’s Take: We believe the partnership is focused on capturing the fast-growing travel demand from China’s tier 2 cities. Ctrip’s report reveals that the top three biggest spending markets on outbound travel are tier 2 markets. This market needs different approach and it is more efficient for Visit Britain to market their destination through a local company who understands the market and has deep rooted connections. We expect to see several direct flights open China’s tier 2 cities to London.


Ctrip Offline Stores Reap $10.24 million in One Day

According to data from Ctrip’s Tourism Channel Department, its high street stores have recorded a transaction volume of more than RMB 70 million ($10.24 million) in a single day, which is 60% higher than the peak last summer. Since August 2017, Ctrip has pushed brick and mortar stores into China’s tier 2 cities, creating 2 types of stores: Ctrip-branded stores for the mid-to-high end market, and Qunar-branded stores for the lower-end market. Click here for more (English).

  • Mailman X’s Take: Ctrip is employing different marketing strategies to cater to the many different types of Chinese travelers. Ctrip is being bullish on China’s third and fourth tier cities and plans to grow its offline stores there. For DMOs, who have traditionally concentrated on marketing their destinations to China’s tier 1 cities, it is important to stay aware of the rapidly increasing demand for travel elsewhere. The Chinese government are pushing local entities to promote travel to and from China’s tier 2 cities and below, for both domestic and international trips.


Also this week:

Didi Invests $1 Billion to Rebrand Driver Services Business

The investment is a part of a larger unit rebranding as the company ramps up to a widely anticipated initial public offering. This division handles services for registered Didi drivers, such as leasing and purchase financing, insurance, repairs, refueling, car-sharing and more. With such an enormous army of drivers, Didi gets special rates from services providers, which acts as a strong recruitment tool for new drivers. Click here for more (English).

Alipay Launches In-App Group Buying Function

Alipay has quietly launched a new group buying function together with its online shopping platform Taobao. Alibaba is hoping to catch up with the trend of social media-enabled group buys at low prices which made Pinduoduo one of its most notable rivals. The new function, named Pintuan (拼团), is located at the bottom of Alipay’s homepage, where users can access daily deals ranging from groceries to electronic devices. Find out more here (English).

Tourism Australia Locks Strategic Partnership with Mafengwo

Tourism Australia will improve its tourism information and products on Mafengwo’s app by establishing a dedicated Australia travel page that provides Chinese consumers with information and products from Tourism Australia’s key distribution partners in China. China is Australia’s largest inbound market with 1.4 million visitors for the 12 months to March 2019 who spent AUD 10.9 billion ($8.09 billion). Click here for details (English).

Chinese Travel to Escape Summer Heat

82.1% of Chinese travelers expressed their intention to travel abroad to escape China’s summer heat. According to Ctrip, Thailand, Japan, Singapore, Russia and Spain are the top 5 destinations. Meanwhile, bookings on Tongcheng saw a rapid increase on trips to Australia, New Zealand, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden and Russia. Summer heat escapers are mostly travelers with higher income, therefore experience-oriented, in-depth tour routes are a popular choice. Click here to find out more (Chinese).

Alibaba’s Hema Supermarket Allows Shoppers to Track Food Journey

Seventeen Hema supermarkets in Shanghai recently launched a food provenance feature to tell customers about an item’s farm-to-store journey. The information includes verifications such as photos of the distributor’s business licenses, food-safety certificates and an official government seal. Hema’s food-tracking system comes as Chinese consumers grow more sophisticated in their food choices and are increasingly looking to adopt a healthier lifestyle. Find out more here (English).

China Becomes Sri Lanka’s Second Largest Tourism Source

Between January and July 2018, Chinese visitors to Sri Lanka have reached more than 163,000. In July alone, 27,460 Chinese tourists arrived in Sri Lanka,  making up 13% of the overall international tourists. This was second only to India, accounting for 14%. Click here for more (English).


Mailman X is a China digital consulting agency for the travel industry. Reach out here for more information.