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London mobility marketplace Splyt partners with Chinese travel agency

China’s largest online travel agency has partnered with Splyt, the London-based startup behind a transportation marketplace, to offer Chinese travellers a one-stop app for holiday planning. 

Splyt, which is based in London, provides on-demand mobility in more than 50 countries worldwide.

Meanwhile the Chinese travel agency, which bought Skyscanner in 2016, is headquartered in Shanghai, China. It claims to have more than 300 million registered users, making it China’s largest Online Travel Agency (OTA). Through Ctrip, you can book accommodation and tickets as well as packaged tours and corporate travel management.

The partnership means that Ctrip app users travelling abroad will now have access to Splyt’s global ride-hailing inventory, in over 1000 cities globally.

Philipp Mintchin, the CEO of Splyt, commented on the news: “We are thrilled to partner with one of the world’s largest online travel agencies, giving their global customer base easy access to the world’s first integrated mobility marketplace.

“The number of outbound trips from Chinese tourists hit 131 million in 2017, making China the largest source of outbound tourists in the world. By unlocking a truly international inventory, we are revolutionising travelling abroad for Ctrip customers and cementing our commitment to the Asian market,” he added.

Currently, Splyt’s Application Programming Interface (API) allows users to hail a ride from companies including Careem, Gett and Cabify. Now, users of the Ctrip app can instantly book a ride from local mobility providers without having to download any other apps.

The deal was made in the hope that Ctrip can capitalise on the the fast-growing ride-sharing sector, a market projected to reach $276bn by 2025 off the back of growing urbanisation.

Chris An, head of Ctrip’s International Ground Transportation Department, said: “With an ever improving digital infrastructure, coupled with increasing disposable income and fewer visa restrictions, the Chinese outbound tourism market has significantly increased over the last few years.

“Our customers rightly demand the very best service, and with this new partnership, they will be able to access a comprehensive, tailored, and convenient ride-hailing marketplace without ever needing to leave our app. As a one stop shop model, Ctrip strives to provide the best quality service and  this integration will change our travellers’ experiences entirely,” he added.

Payments go through the Ctrip app, but can be made in the local currency. The aim is that Chinese travellers won’t have to download unfamiliar transport apps when they visit a new country. To aid this, the app boasts interactive chat with auto-translation.

The new ride-hailing function will firstly be available on Ctrip with Ctrip’s Asia Pacific brand Trip.com to follow later this year.

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