China’s Qunar.com eyes Japan JV by 2007 year end

May 16, 2007

Fritz Demopoulos CEO Qunar.ComFounded in 2005, China’s third largest travel search engine firm Qunar.com, is hoping to finalise a joint venture in Japan towards the end of this year, and is also in talks with South Korean internet portals for potential partnerships, said Chief Executive, and co-founder Fritz Demopoulos.

Demopoulos said there is a developing trend towards direct consumer marketing, where businesses such as airlines and hotels want to have direct relationships with consumers, without an agent in the middle.

As a search engine, Qunar.com, which means “Where are you going?” in Chinese, delivers customers to the websites for — tickets, hotels, car rentals etc. Demopoulos said if he were to IPO his company, it could be in 2010-2011, and that he would prefer to list in Hong Kong or on the Nasaq.

 Demopoulos also commented on how it is hard for the big players, such as Google, to diversify into other internet fields such as travel sites.

“Anytime a big player competes on a level playing field…they actually lose,” said Demopoulos, who was born in Los Angeles and holds an MBA degree from UCLA.

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