Looking to expand in Japan, the world’s third largest travel market, flight-search engine Skyscanner and Yahoo Japan announced a joint venture, and they plan on contributing a relatively meager $2.5 million to kick things off.
Under the terms of the Skyscanner (51 percent) and Yahoo Japan (49 percent) joint venture, the two companies say they will operate the site independently from their own operations and will share board duties. Skyscanner currently runs Skyscanner.jp from Singapore, and the joint venture is now looking for a CEO and a location for a Tokyo office.
The new flight search site hopes to leverage Yahoo Japan’s user base of 80 million daily unique visitors. U.S.-headquartered Yahoo Inc. is an investor in Yahoo Japan.
In turn, Skyscanner will provide its technology to Yahoo Japan and will power flight search on Yahoo Japan sites.
Skyscanner Japan, which hasn’t launched yet, will be a separate site.
The size of the joint venture investment — $2.5 million — is very modest considering the resources of the parties. Yahoo Japan has a market cap of $22.34 billion; Skyscanner reported 93 million British pounds (about $145.3 million at today’s exchange rates) in 2014 revenue.
Travel companies commonly face the question of how to expand beyond their home markets. In China, Skyscanner went the acquisition route in 2014, acquiring fellow metasearch site Youbibi. In Japan, Skyscanner hopes a joint venture with Yahoo Japan will be the answer.