Shanghai-based Ctrip, China’s largest online travel company, has formed a partnership with U.S. private equity firm General Atlantic that will target onshore and global travel businesses. Greenwich, Conn.-based General Atlantic includes two former senior officials of Washington, D.C.-based Carlyle Group, which has been one of the most aggressive private equity investors in the tour and travel industry in recent years.
Known as Ocean Link, the new partnership represents a $400 million fund that will join what has become a fiercely competitive market. According to data from Dealogic, reports the Financial Times, Chinese companies have announced $2.4 billion in hotel deals year-to-date in 2016.
Ocean Link, which will continue fundraising for the next six to 12 months, has both a local currency fund and a dollar-denominated fund. It has already invested in German-based hotel chain Ruby Hotels and Mind Education, which is a China-based summer camp for students, called Mind Education.
“Most of the products they offer are domestic tours but it’s becoming clear that students or parents are demanding more overseas products,” said Tony Jiang, a partner at the fund and a former Carlyle executive, who told the Financial Times that the fund could invest in foreign companies to expand the business abroad.
Last year, Ctrip acquired its competitor, Qunar, creating China’s largest online travel company. See Inbound Report, July 20, 2016: “Will Ctrip End up as China’s Only Online Travel Agency?”https://www.inboundreport.com/2016/07/20/will-ctrip-end-up-as-chinas-only-online-travel-agency/