Tourists pose for photos in Hong Kong's main financial district. (Photo by Li Peng/Xinhua)
Tourism site and app is the darling of investors as it targets Millennials and their love of new experiences
To make it big, you need big dreams. When it comes to vision, Chen Gang plans to turn his company Mafengwo into the "Alibaba of the tourism industry".
Rarely, do you get anything bigger here than the online behemoth, but then Chen is not just a dreamer.
The co-founder and chief executive officer of Mafengwo has decided to add a glitzy app platform to his major website to cash in on the booming travel industry of Millennials.
"The Chinese tourism market is so huge that it is estimated to hit 1 trillion yuan (6.2 billion) in the foreseeable future," Chen said. "Just like Alibaba (Group Holding Ltd), we are now offering an e-commerce platform for potential tourists."
Since it started commercial operations in2010, the Beijing-based company's online website of travel guides, advice and booking options has proved to be a runaway success.
Today, Mafengwo has launched an app to go with its website business and now has more than 100 million users. They go through the latest travel information, glance at Q&As and reviews, as well as book hotels, travel destinations and local tours.
"Chinese tourists now have better jobs and know how to share information, especially those born in the 1980s and the 1990s (Millennials)," Chen said.
"Driven by life quality decisions,more people will choose independent travel instead of traditional package tours," he added.
This is where the app comes in. According to online data company Analysys Qianfan, Mafengwo's app had more than 3 million active monthly users in April, a jump of 18 percent compared to March.
With figures like that,Chen's company was able to generate 4 billion yuan in gross merchandising value last year.