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Booking.com investing in China with confidence

China Daily | Updated: 2017-03-15 08:37

Booking.com investing in China with confidence

Gillian Tans, CEO of Booking.com. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Q. What do you think of China's economic growth target of about 6.5 percent this year, amid the sluggish global recovery? What business opportunities do you see coming from sectors that will be opened to wider foreign investment, such as services, manufacturing and mining?

A: China is undergoing structural reform to pursue quality and sustainable growth. Even with moderate economic growth, China contributed more than 30 percent of global growth last year. This year, China has set a growth target of about 6.5 percent amid global economic uncertainty, which should continue to stabilize the world economy and give confidence to the markets. Chinese consumer spending continues to rise, with a growing desire for diverse and quality technology-driven travel services.

Q. How do you assess the role of the Chinese market in your global business strategy and layout? What are your views on China's efforts and extended preferential policies to further attract foreign investment? Do you plan to increase investment or expand your presence in the Chinese market this year?

A: China has long been an important international market for Booking.com, and it is playing a key role in our global business strategy for continued growth. Since entering China in 2010, we have experienced fast growth by bridging Chinese consumers and accommodations with the world. Last year, China's outbound market posted strong growth, with more than 120 million Chinese traveling overseas. We are optimistic about recent efforts to open-up and ease the tax burden on multinationals to create a fair and favourable trading environment. This allows companies to continue to invest with confidence in technology, people and service upgrades.

Q. What business opportunities do you expect to see as China promotes the Belt and Road Initiative? Have you participated in, or do you plan to participate in any projects linked with the initiative? How do you think infrastructure investment can contribute to global growth?

A: The Belt and Road Initiative is driving regional connectivity at an unprecedented scale through infrastructure development. Intraregional travel will grow and cross-Asia travel will be more attractive to global tourists as transportation barriers are taken down. As an online travel platform connecting people with their ideal places to stay, we are well-positioned to capture this round of travel trend and help build a strong regional travel market. With more than 1.1 million diverse accommodations resources, Booking.com is continually looking to make accommodations more accessible throughout Asia. Our 24/7 service in 43 languages will also make communication easier for travelers in the region.

Q. This year, China will continue to implement supply-side reform. What does the reform mean for your business, and how will you adjust your business strategy in China to deal with it?

A: Supply-side reform is driving a profound change by urging all businesses and companies to improve competitiveness and develop in line with the market and consumer demand. Our philosophy is to focus on innovations to meet and exceed consumers' needs for high-quality products and services. This defines our market strategy in line with China's developing needs, driven by the reforms. Behind every product and service we offer in the China market, we innovate, experiment and improve to capture the mobilized tendency.

Q. What is your opinion of China's efforts to upgrade its manufacturing capabilities and promote innovation? Will China's innovation-driven campaign spur the vitality and competitiveness of the economy?

A: China's innovation drive is turning consumers into supporters of innovation. Indulged by customized new products and services, Chinese consumers are now seeking and valuing innovative ideas and the companies behind them, presenting great opportunities for technology companies. We're excited to see the Chinese consumer market becoming one in which innovation and pioneering new technologies can drive business success. Our continuous efforts to innovate and customize products are a response to the demand for innovation, and they have contributed to our business success in China.

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