Baidu takes majority stake in Chinese travel website

Chinese search engine announced that it plans to make a $306 million investment in, a Chinese travel search engine.

Qunar is the most visited travel websites in China in 2011 and has the widest coverage of any travel search engine in China, with more than 11,000 air routes and 102,000 hotels worldwide.
According to Baidu, the travel market is of strategic importance as the number of travellers is growing rapidly in China.
After the investment, Qunar will continue to operate as an independent company, while both companies will cooperate in certain areas of online travel search. Baidu plans to finance the investment with a third-party loan.
Both partners think they can enhance the user experience of hundreds of millions of Chinese travellers.
There is still much to develop in China’s online travel industry. Only 7.9% of Chinese internet users have booked their travels online, against 66% if internet users in the United States. All opportunities have not been explored yet.
[pictured: Boeing forecast for passengers traffic over the next 20 years between Europe and China]