Qunar Fueled By Chinese Wealth
NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- With the rich getting richer in China and the middle class still in rapid expansion mode, rising disposable incomes in the country is affording Chinese travelers the ability to embark on more and more unique travel adventures than ever.
Beijing-based e-commerce travel site Qunar
A record 168 billionaires made it to Forbes' China Rich List this year, up from 113 last year. According to Bloomberg, China's per-capita disposable income has accelerated four-fold since 2000.
Even with strong travel demand in China, the overall infrastructure of the Chinese travel industry remains surprisingly underserved and disjointed. The total market is divided between state-owned companies, offline agencies and a number of online services. In the U.S., consumers can easily choose between a vast number of online travel services sites to pull up all the comprehensive bookings information they need with a quick search of the Internet. Such an option still isn't as prevalent in China, despite the country having already exceeded the U.S. on the population of web and mobile phone users.
Qunar has recognized this services gap, and as a strong strategic ally of China's second-largest Internet company Baidu
The company, which has drawn comparisons with Priceline.com
Qunar, which means "Where to go" in Mandarin Chinese, went public on the Nasdaq last week to help fuel investments into Qunar's technology, infrastructure, and services. In reflection of the robust confidence in Qunar's business proposition, shares soared by as much as 133% to an intraday high of $34.99. The company had priced about 11.1 million American depositary shares at $15 a share the evening before, above the expected range of $12 to $14.