Skift Take

Fosun says a major path to its future is through acquisitions. But Qian Jiannong wouldn't tip his hand on Thomas Cook. It sure feels like a bigger deal is in the works.

Chinese conglomerate Fosun International, which has a minority stake in Thomas Cook, has been rumored to be a buyer of the London-based travel giant. The CEO of Fosun Tourism Group did not deny that scenario on Monday during Skift Forum Asia in Singapore.

When pressed on a potential acquisition, Qian Jiannong, who is also senior vice president of Fosun International, said Fosun remains interested in Thomas Cook, particularly with a push into European tourism. He did not deny a full-blown acquisition, but would not elaborate further. “I can’t tell you more,” Qian said.

Fosun’s strategy is to seek opportunities to accommodate Chinese travelers in Europe beyond the major cities, which are the destinations for 80 percent of Chinese tourists, said Qian. Fosun derives 40 percent of its revenues from Europe, 50 percent in Asia, and the remainder in the U.S., he added.

Catering to Rising Chinese Middle Class

As more Chinese look to travel, Fosun is seeking new unique “world-class” products to capture that customer base. One such venture is through Fosun’s Club Med properties, with the recent launch of a new line of resorts called Joyview and two new themed resorts in Lijiang, Yunnan province, and Taicang, 30 minutes from Shanghai.

Joyview retreats are midscale getaways a couple of hours away from major cities, targeted at Chinese millennial travelers and multigenerational families, while also serving corporate functions such as conferences and team-building. Club Med looks to offer the traditional all-inclusive model at these resorts but also give guests the option to travel offsite.

The strategy is to serve Chinese travelers who do not have the extended holidays like Europeans but want getaways for two to three days. Club Med has six properties in China with another one in the works.

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Tags: club med, fosun, sfa2019, skift forum asia

Photo credit: Fosun Tourism Group CEO Qian Jiannong speaking with Skift Asia Editor Raini Hamdi at Skift Forum Asia on May 27, 2019. Qian said he remains keen on Fosun's investment in Thomas Cook. Richard Lai / Skift

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