Business / Companies

Spring Group cements partnership with Japan's Bic Camera

By Wang Ying (China Daily) Updated: 2015-12-24 09:37

Spring Group, the parent company of Shanghai-based budget carrier Spring Airlines Co Ltd, has signed a strategic agreement with Japanese consumer electronics retailer Bic Camera Inc to tap into the growing spending by Chinese travelers in Japan.

Wang Zhenghua, Spring Group chairman, said the airline will promote Bic Camera at its check-in counters, in its cabins and within its flight network, while Bic Camera will advertise Spring at its retail stores, which will also offer discounts on goods to Spring air-ticket holders.

Bic Camera operates 34 self-branded stores in Japan's major business areas and in stations, and 200 sites nationally.

The move is a further evidence of Spring looking to diversify its tourism services to attract more domestic passengers.

Started as a domestic travel agency in 1981, the group launched Spring Airlines in 2004.

In October this year, subsidiary Shanghai Spring Investment Management Co Ltd announced plans to enter the hotel market under the brand name SpringSunny Hotel, in joint venture with Japan's Sun Frontier Fudousan Co Ltd.

Wang said more cooperation, including capital investment, will be put in place between the two partners following Bic Camera's investment of 1 billion yen ($8.27 million) earlier this year into Spring Airlines' joint venture in Japan.

According to Spring's figures, individual trips between China and Japan by the low-budget carrier are projected to hit 1.2 million this year.

Li Lei, an industrial analyst from Minzu Securities Co, said: "The growing interest by Chinese tourists going abroad, including to Japan, provides strong backing for Spring Group's latest moves."

The company is set to launch direct flights from Tokyo to Chongqing and Wuhan, Hubei province in February 2016, with more Sino-Japan routes expected in the pipeline.

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