Worldspan steps into Asia with Et-china

Extending its reach into the Asian market, Worldspan will provide strategic planning and technology to Et-china Limited, an online travel company serving the fast growing corporate travel market in China.
Worldspan will provide technology and marketing resources to Et-china, whose target market is large corporations. Et-china will use Worldspan’s Trip Manager corporate travel software to serve its clients in China. The deal also will help expand Et-china`s portfolio of corporate travel solutions.
Et-china, which launched its Web site in January 2000, provides real-time online ticket reservation, online payment, and ticket delivery services to corporate and high-end leisure travelers within and from China. Et-China, which is partly owned by China Southern Airlines, currently serves more than 200 corporate customers.
“Worldspan`s experience and leadership role in the travel e-commerce market bolsters our ability to offer our corporate and other clients cutting-edge online booking and travel management products,” said Matthew Ng, president and chief executive officer for Et-china. “We are very pleased to partner with Worldspan as both our companies strengthen our position and expand our reach in China`s travel market.”
For the Atlanta-based GDS, whose main business is in the US, this partnership is a major step in the growing Asian online travel market.
“Our partnership with Et-china brings Worldspan nearer our goal of being the preeminent provider of online business-to-business travel solutions in China, always respectful of the special market and government provisions in this burgeoning marketplace,” said Sue Powers, senior vice president and general manager of worldwide e-commerce for Worldspan. “As a result of this alliance, we also expect to leverage our product and service capabilities to provide online travel services to small and medium-sized travel agencies throughout China.”
Worldspan also is taking an equity position in Et-china and Vela McClam-Mitchell, vice president of worldwide e-commerce business development for Worldspan, will serve on the board of Et-China Holdings Limited.
“With China`s expected admission to the World Trade Organization, increases in China`s affluent urban population, and the relaxation of passport controls, international travel to and from China will undoubtedly grow significantly in the years ahead,” McClam-Mitchell said. “The increased use of the Internet and growing acceptance of e-commerce in China, coupled with the steady growth of domestic and international travel of the Chinese people, will offer unprecedented opportunities for both Worldspan and Et-china.”
Et-china says its strategy is to offer a professional, convenient, secure, reliable and seamless e-commerce service to the growing Internet user population in China. In addition to online ticket booking and hotel reservations, the site offers seat selection and meals preference selection, and cargo-consignment booking. It also provides business conference services for corporate clients.
Et-china, along with China Southern Airlines and Guangdong Mobile Communication Company, provides wireless reservation service for the Guangdong Province. The service allows WAP mobile phone users to check flight availability and information and book tickets.
Since it launched last year, the company has been in growth mode. In February, Et-china, celebrated its 1st year in business by moving into a new office at Baiyun International Airport in Guangzhou, launching redesigned Chinese and English web sites and announcing new corporate account signings.
The company signed several new major corporate accounts and will be managing and/or providing travel services, including airline reservations and ticketing, travel planning, hotel reservations and payment and business conferences, for Intel, Ericsson, HP Invent (China Hewlett-Packard Co., Ltd. Guangzhou Branch), CCB (China Construction Bank) and Agilent Technologies.
Corporate sales account for 80% of Et-china`s business. Seventy percent of Et-china`s staff is now in the company`s marketing and operations divisions working to either sign new corporate accounts or servicing existing corporate clients.
“It has been a great year,” said Ng. “There is no question that the corporate business marketplace understands and are daily using the e-commerce and travel benefits that only Et-china can provide. Et-china is continually looking for strong partnerships with major international travel companies so we can continue to expand our vast array of e-commerce travel products and services.”