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Online travel firms want to dominate hotel bookings

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South African media conglomerate Naspers’ announcement last month that it would invest $250 million in its Indian subsidiary Ibibo Group was out of the routine. Naspers has been pumping money into the online travel company for nearly a decade, not bothering to broadcast it.

The announcement, rather, was an assertion of Naspers’s backing of Ibibo shortly after MakeMyTrip declared a $180-million (Rs 1,200 crore) infusion from China’s largest online travel company Ctrip, reports The Times of India. Entrepreneurs and investors were bemused also by the size of the investment into Ibibo, just short of the $265 million cash that was in MakeMyTrip’s books after the infusion by Ctrip.

Ibibo chief executive Ashish Kashyap is determined to make Ibibo the largest in domestic online hotel bookings, and thereby in the overall online travel market, after the firm exited online classifieds, payments and retail businesses that failed to scale. Ibibo launched its travel website in 2010 with Naspers owning about 80% of the company, with Chinese investor Tencent and Kashyap holding the remaining stake.

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