Recently eLong.com announced that Tencent Holdings Limited has made a strategic investment in eLong, acquiring approximately 11 million newly-issued shares for USD84 million.
At the same time Expedia, the controlling shareholder of eLong.com, purchased 5.4 million newly-issued shares for USD41 million. It is intended that eLong will use the proceeds from the sale of the newly-issued shares for acquisitions, business development, working capital, and other general company purposes.
This is Tencent's first big move into travel market. Tencent and eLong.com to enhance business cooperation in the future, including enabling about 674 million active QQ users to book online travel products and buy eLong.com's hotel products through the partnership.
Cui Guangfu, the CEO of eLong.com, said eLong.com is very glad to cooperate with Tencent to provide more travel products and service to Internet users in China. Tencent has a large number of users, and cross-platform applications for portals, mobile phone, instant messaging, and social networking. Cui believes domestic users will benefit from this cooperation between eLong.com and Tencent.
Currently eLong.com has a global hotel network of more than 150,000 hotels, including 19,000 Chinese hotels and 130,000 overseas hotels from Expedia.