Alibaba Invests in Chinese Travel-Website Qyer; Taobao Travel hosts more than 800 travel agencies offering more than 100,000 hotel rooms, while China-based Qyer.com, founded in 2004, has more than 10 million users

July 16, 2013, 10:26 a.m. ET

Alibaba Invests in Chinese Travel-Website Qyer

JURO OSAWA

HONG KONG—Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. invested in travel website Qyer.com, the latest in a series of deals by China’s largest e-commerce company. Alibaba, which operates Taobao and other online shopping sites, declined to disclose the terms of the deal. Qyer’s travel-related information and services will complement travel-booking site Taobao Travel, Alibaba said Tuesday. Taobao Travel hosts more than 800 travel agencies offering more than 100,000 hotel rooms, while China-based Qyer.com, founded in 2004, has more than 10 million users, Alibaba said. The Qyer deal follows two other investments by Alibaba in the past few months. In April Alibaba agreed to buy an 18% stake in Sina Corp.’s SINA +1.08% Twitter-like Weibo microblogging business for $586 million, gaining an opportunity to tap into the site’s mobile-user base. Alibaba agreed in May to buy a 28% stake in Chinese mapping-software firm AutoNavi Holding Ltd. AMAP +3.97% for $294 million, another move to strengthen its mobile-based business.Alibaba Chief Executive Jonathan Lu said recently that even after the deals with Weibo and AutoNavi, Alibaba needed more resources to reshape its business and that the company would be open to more acquisitions.

As competition intensifies, China’s major Internet companies are striking more acquisitions and alliances. Online-search company Baidu Inc. BIDU +4.04% said Tuesday that it would buy one of China’s mobile-app stores for $1.9 billion.

Alibaba’s investments come amid growing expectations that the company will make an initial public offering that could value Alibaba at about $70 billion, based on analysts’ estimates.

Alibaba hasn’t announced specific IPO plans. Mr. Lu said in the interview that the company was ready for an IPO, though it hadn’t decided when or where to list its shares.

About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (www.heroinnovator.com), the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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