JD Group, parent company of e-commerce giant JD.com, has inked a strategic partnership with a state-owned tourism operator as the online services conglomerate strengthens its presence in the travel industry.
Why it matters: JD’s renewed push into the tourism sector underscores its confidence in the industry’s revival, which was brought to near-standstill by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Details: On Monday JD Group announced a partnership with Beijing-based tourism services operator Beijing Tourism Group (BTG) on the construction of intelligent services and smart cities.
- As part of the deal, JD Group and JD’s technology service arm JD Digits have made a strategic investment of undisclosed size in Beijing BTG Huilian Technology, a subsidiary. It will act as the main body for the cooperation, promoting digitization of consumer-facing services in the tourism group.
- JD will help BTG build digital insights and private cloud platforms in order to improve its management of customers, merchants, and logistics, as well as capital and information flow.
Context: In June, JD sold all of its 21% stake in Tuniu, once a top online travel agency in China, for $65 million, five years after leading a $500 million round in the company in 2015.
- The BTG investment comes more than one month after JD pumped RMB 450 million ($63 million) in travel service Caissa, for a 7.4% stake.
- Travel in China is beginning to show signs of recovery as new cases of the novel coronavirus decline.
- Tech giants like Alibaba—a JD.com rival which has a solid presence in the travel market with its tourism unit Fliggy—and Ctrip are offering discounts and coupons to spur travel consumption.
- BTG is involved in various areas of the tourism segment including travel agencies, dining, hotels, shopping, and entertainment.
- Operating assets worth more than RMB 10 billion, the company is behind 132 brands including four domestically listed entities: hotel chain BTG Hotels, retail business Wangfujing and Beijing Capital Retailing Group, and roast duck restaurant brand Quanjude. The company operates more than 7,000 offline stores across 400 cities.