Whenever there are whispers of any travel company looking for a buyer, the focus invariably turns to China and especially the big travel companies that dominate the market.
HNA Group and Fosun have all made investments but Ctrip made the biggest splash with its $1.7 billion purchase of metasearch site Skyscanner in November.
Although Ctrip is currently sitting on a large pile of cash, this doesn’t mean that it would just spend it on any old travel company that turns up asking for money.
“I would like to think we are not that dumb,” said Shiwei Zhou, vice president of investments and investor relations in an on-stage interview at Phocuswright Europe.
Instead the company looks at a number if criteria when it comes to acquisitions.
First, Zhou said, the company would have to give Ctrip access to new markets, technology or relationships.
Second, although Ctrip wants synergies with its existing businesses the acquired company needs “to be able to operate on their own.”
Finally, Ctrip doesn’t like to overpay with Zhou claiming it is “conservative” when it comes to valuations.
Separately, Ctrip has said over the years that it looks for companies that are best in class.
Ctrip has been among the most-acquisitive travel companies since 2015, having acquired Qunar, eLong and three U.S. tour operators, among others.