Alibaba Group has set its sites on the rapidly evolving online travel space with confirmation it will spin-off its online travel business Taobao Travel to become an independent business named Alitrip.
Headquartered in the eastern city of Hangzhou, Alibaba operates China’s most popular online shopping platform, Taobao.
Alitrip, which will have a standalone website, will focus on mobile devices to provide holiday tourism products.
By launching the website, the internet giant shows its ambition to increase its presence in the online tourism market.
“This independent online travel platform is a logical extension of Alibaba Group’s strategy and we are excited for the opportunity to build Alitrip into a leading platform for China’s online travel sector,” Alitrip general manager Li Shaoshua earlier.
The new site is expected to be a direct competitor to China’s current travel leader, Ctrip.
Alitrip has more than 10,000 vendors on its platform providing plane tickets, holiday packages, and services for hotel booking, visa applications, and tour guides.
The site will also seek to overhaul customer service in the sector, providing innovation services such as refunding air tickets in hours rather than weeks and paying for hotel rooms after staying.
Alibaba Group is betting on this comprehensive offering of travel products and services to differentiate it in the market.
Following its recent $25 billion initial public offering, Alibaba has plenty of resources to use to focus on travel and other initiatives.