Major players in the China tourism market you need to know

China tourism overseas is a rapidly growing industry. It is estimated that by the end of 2013, 90 million tourists from China will have travelled overseas (Source: Ibtimes). Chinese tourists spent a record-breaking $102 billion in 2012, beating both Americans and Germans. Clearly, Chinese tourists are very lucrative market.

Both companies inside and outside China are trying to capitalise on the swiftly growing tourism market. Not everyone has met with roaring success. The key to succeeding when breaking into any Chinese market is understanding the culture, adapting your marketing to suit the requirements of Chinese consumers, and ensuring that you have all the research and knowledge you need before you start.

To help you out, we’ve put together a list of some of the major players in the Chinese tourism industry. Their success can serve as inspiration and guidance, as well as helping you to assess the state of the market and competition.


In a recent report ranking 17 global hotel brands (Source: L2 think tank), only Hong Kong-based Shangri-La was considered to have a high digital IQ in the Chinese tourism market. It was the only company ranked by the report as ‘gifted’, where second and joint third place companies Marriot, Hilton, and InterContinental respectively were ranked ‘average’. A lot of this success is deemed to be down to Shangri-La’s effective use of Chinese social media sites.

Your Singapore, Visit Britain, Visit California

National tourism boards, like the Shangri-La hotel company, have made good use of Chinese social media sites. Roughly 90% of the world’s tourism boards now have an account on the Twitter-like Sina Weibo, many of which are meeting with much success. Your Singapore and Visit Britain are currently leading the pack. Visit California has also seen great success, and with nearly a 48% market share, is now the most popular Chinese tourist destination in America.

Ctrip, eLong

Ctrip is a Chinese online travel booking service. They are currently the leader in the online travel booking market in China, with over 40% of the market share as of the second quarter in 2012 (Source: China Internet Watch). This was unchanged from Q1. Closest rival, eLong, saw its market share almost double between the first and second quarters of last year to nearly 14%. When it comes to success in the Chinese tourism market, these are two key players to study.

Learning from the major players to engage Chinese tourists

One thing these very different companies all demonstrate is the need to engage with Chinese internet users. Using Chinese social media, and having a Chinese website, has played a large role in the success of these companies. When it comes to breaking into the Chinese tourism market, understanding the needs of Chinese tourists, and using the correct channels to engage with them, is key to building a reputation within the market.

Do you want to enter the Chinese market in a way that generates positive response and engagement from consumers? Get in touch with Market Me China today to discuss your business ideas and plans.

(Image source: “Hotel” |