Baidu, which is China’s equivalent of Google, has chosen Skyscanner as its partner for international flight search. Baidu also has an existing partnership with Chinese travel search site Qunar.
While Qunar continues to handle flight searches for Baidu, Skyscanner now provides the best range of international flights for users in China. When a Baidu user searches for international flights, Skyscanner results automatically appear in the search controls (pictured, right.) The user can then click through to the airline of choice to make a booking. In China, Skyscanner is known as Tianxun (www.tianxun.cn, pictured above.)
While Skyscanner already holds the number one position in travel search in Europe, the Baidu partnership is a significant development for Skyscanner in its fastest growing region. Seven out of ten of the most highly travelled air routes are in Asia, of which China is the largest market.
Skyscanner is also announcing the opening of its first China-based office, in Beijing, the metropolis most closely related to China’s major airline players. The office opening comes close to a year after Europe’s leading travel search site opened its first Asia-Pacific office in Singapore. While traffic growth across Asia-Pacific has increased by 400 per cent since September 2011, growth rates in China itself have increased by 700 per cent during the same period.
Gareth Williams, Co-founder and CEO of Skyscanner, says:
“We look forward to partnering with Baidu to provide the very best in travel search to their many users. Overall in Asia, we fully expect Skyscanner to grow to the size of our European business within a relatively short period and we are investing with this in mind.”
Ewan Gray, Skyscanner’s Director for Asia Pacific, says:
“The success of our strategy in China comes down to a few things, including our ability to localise website content for the Chinese user, optimising search engine keywords, conducting online marketing campaigns and, not insignificantly, building relationships with China’s leading airlines and online travel agents.”
Skyscanner is also announcing the relocation of its regional headquarters in Singapore to a larger office to accommodate a planned doubling of its headcount there over the next twelve months.