Tencent and Expedia Invest $125.6 Million in Chinese Travel Service Provider eLong

Tencent and Expedia have separately invested in eLong, an online travel service provider in China.

Tencent Holdings Limited, the giant Chinese Web holding company, has invested in $84.4 million for a 16 percent stake, and Expedia has invested $41.2 million to increase its stake to 56 percent.

Tencent said the investment marks its first in the travel industry. In the future, Tencent may form a business partnership with eLong to distribute its hotel database to its community of 674 million active users in China.

The investment by Expedia follows previous investments and partnerships with the company.

“China is a key region for us from a strategic perspective,” said Dara Khosrowshahi, Expedia’s president and CEO. “Aligning ourselves with the online industry leader in China, and increasing our own investment in eLong, strengthens our position in this critical market, and will allow eLong to strengthen its outstanding online hotel services and provide air and hotel products to more and more customers in China.”

ELong covers more than 150,000 hotel properties worldwide, including more than 19,000 hotels in China, and 130,000 internationally through its partnership with Expedia.

The bigger push into international markets comes a month after Expedia announced it would spin off TripAdvisor into a separate public company. The company also announced a joint venture with AirAsia to sell hotel, air and holiday packages.

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work