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Priceline surged in a tech boom of two decades ago before coming down. It has regenerated itself through its 2005 acquisition of Amsterdam based portal Booking.com, followed by acquiring booking site Agoda and travel search engine Kayak. This has helped the stock rise in the last decade. Over 90% of its revenue comes from outside the U.S., even though its original model of naming a price for a booking is gone.
Booking.com is making an attempt to penetrate the Chinese travel market with a series of acquisitions starting with online travel agency Ctrip.com. Ctrip.com is established but recent acquisitions are burning cash. There is skepticism about these acquisitions as Chinese company share prices are seen as inflated similar to the stock booms that went bust in the U.S.
Booking.com invested heavily in online advertising primarily through Google. Yet though western customers use search engines to find and book travel, in China customers go directly to Ctrip or apps like Meituan to book trips. To get people to book Chinese travel companies offer large discounts, a model that may not be right for Booking.com. The effort is to add to Ctrip customer base the middle to lower income customers from Didi ride sharing app and the Meituan app, through its partnerships with these companies.
The experience of other travel sites such as Expedia in the Chinese market is poor, with price wars and Expedia selling its majority stake to Didi Chuxing. Expedia's CEO at the time calls it "the wild, wild east" because of the intense competition. About 130 million Chinese travelled overseas in 2017, up 7%, and spending 5 billion.)