|Marcel Woo |||Mar 18, 2015 03:54 AM EDT|
China’s online travel agencies have emerged as a booming business in mainland China, industry experts said. In photo, mainland Chinese visitors rest outside a shop at a shopping district in Hong Kong February 24, 2015. REUTERS/Liau Chung-ren.
With more than 100 million Chinese citizens traveling abroad this year and with more than 1 billion mobile users in the country, China's online travel agencies have emerged as a booming business in mainland China, industry experts said.
Last year, the transaction value of China's online travel market reached 277 billion Chinese yuan (US$44.4 billion), representing an increase of 27.1 percent from the previous year, Shanghai's National Business Daily reported.
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Online travel transactions now accounted for about 10 percent of the country's overall travel market and experts and analysts predicted that the figure will soar to at least 15.6 percent within two years.
Expert said the popularity of mobile use in China as well as the interest of Chinese citizens to travel abroad will continue to propel the country's online travel market this year and in the years to come.
Established travel agencies have benefited from the rapid rise of the online travel market, data released by Jinlu Consulting showed.
Of the online travel agencies in China, ctrip.com, qunar.com and ly.com were considered as the top three in the market. Ctrip.com reported 187 million downloads of its mobile apps, worth about US$30 million.
Qunar.com said its mobile apps have been downloaded 178 million times, generating revenue of about US$28.9 million while ly.com reported 130 million downloads for US$21 million.
One of the downturns of the rapid development of online travel agencies in China is the unregulated electronic contracts between the agencies and their clients.
"The rapid development of online travel agencies in China has led to a spike in consumer complaints, many of which were related to the electronic contracts established between the agencies and their customers," said Jinlu Consulting CEO Wei Changren.
Although the 2013 Tourism Law has helped to regulate China's chaotic travel market, it does not address issues related to online travel agencies, Wei said.
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