American travel website Tripadvisor, the largest user-generated travel website in the world, recently announced some changes for their Chinese market. In a push to focus on China’s booming retail tourism market, Tripadvisor is rebranding their Chinese language service and rolling out a new app for Chinese travelers.
Tripadvisor is now operating in China under the brand name Mao Tu Ying. Cleverly incorporating the brands owl logo motif, the new name is an infectious play on words incorporating the Chinese phrases for owl and trip. The new app will feature Chinese language shopping guides and the ability to share to WeChat.
With the acquisition of the Chinese travel website Kuxun, Tripadvisor made it’s first entrance to the Chinese market as daodao.com in 2009. Over five years later, they’re rebranding again to meet the needs of the new Chinese tourist.
These renewed efforts to focus on the Chinese market are starting to gain traction for Tripadvisor. The company reported over 60 million sessions from Chinese users worldwide in the first four months of 2015. We should see this number increase with tripadvisors newly reinvigorated push to serve Mainland China’s increasingly large, increasingly profitable population of outbound tourists. Tripadvisor, like many other websites across sectors, is anticipating Mainland China to be its largest market in the future.
Chinese tourists are becoming less interested in landmark attractions and more interested in shopping, and the market is becoming increasingly diverse and niche-oriented in response. For example, websites like Xiaohongshu and Shopilist are focused on providing niche shopping information to Chinese travelers abroad, and homegrown giants such as Qunar already have a strong foothold in the hotel booking and landmark attraction. With this growing competition, will Tripadvisor be able to maintain an advantage in China’s travel and shopping app sector?