Online travel services giant Ctrip bags licence to offer ride-hailing services in China

Traffic travels along the Second Ring Road in Beijing, China, on Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2015. Photographer: Qilai Shen/Bloomberg

New York-listed Chinese trip booking giant Ctrip announced on Tuesday that it has been granted a licence to offer web-enabled car-on-demand services in the country in a move that could challenge Didi Chuxing‘s virtual monopoly on the industry.

According to reports, Ctrip has obtained the online ride-hailing license from the transport authority in Tianjin, the northeastern port city outside Beijing. The Tianjin license gives Ctrip authority to operate online ride-hailing services around the country.

Ctrip has existing partnerships with other ride-hailing operators that provide similar services on the company’s platform. The move could impact these partnerships and could also challenge the dominance of Didi Chuxing, which has an over 90 per cent share of the market.

In an exclusive interaction with DEALSTREETASIA, Cecilia Zhang, Senior Manager for Investor Relations at Ctrip, confirmed the company’s move into the online ride-hailing sector in China. She said the service complements the suite of ground transportation products that Ctrip currently has on its platform.

“The ride-hailing service further strengthens Ctrip’s travel one-stop shop capabilities. We will continue to push forward in delivering a holistic and high-quality experience for our travel customers,” Zhang told this portal.

Zhang did not provide details on when and where Ctrip would officially launch its ride-hailing services.

Ctrip started its transportation business in 2014, offering airport pickup, car rental, and chauffeur services.

The South China Morning Post quoted Li Qiao, the chief executive of Ctrip’s chauffeur car service unit, as saying that there was a huge untapped potential in China’s ride-hailing market.

Aside from Ctrip, Didi is facing new challenges with several other firms, including Tencent-backed meal delivery company Meituan-Dianping, which announced plans to launch ride-hailing services.

Last month, a unit of Didi Chuxing submitted an application to raise Rmb10 billion ($1.6 billion) through an issuance of asset-backed securities. Didi, however, did not reveal how the funds would be used.

The funds will be raised by Dirun (Tianjin) Technology Co Ltd, according to a filing published on the Shanghai Stock Exchange’s bond market website.

Also Read:

China’s Didi Chuxing seeks to raise $1.6b via asset-backed securities

China: Ctrip-backed travel service firms Tongcheng, eLong to merge

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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

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  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.