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HK suppliers roiled by Chinese B2B travel site's partial closure
Prudence Lui, Hong Kong, December 12, 2016
 

The temporary suspension of some operations at China's travel e-commerce aggregator Shijie99, which ran into financial troubles recently, had affected many suppliers in Hong Kong and dented their confidence in working with Chinese online platforms.

 

The Beijing-based company had issued a letter of apology to all cooperating partners on November 27, stating it would reassess all cooperation channels and various business streams and resume all operating platforms on December 2.

 

 

Utour, parent company of Shijie99, had also agreed to inject more than RMB40 million (US$5.8 million) into the company.

 

Westminster Travel has since taken actions to curtail any disruptions arising from Shijie99. Said CEO Larry Lo: “We have stopped supplying air tickets to the site as it still owes us money. Typically, millions of transactions are generated per month from the site as the booking traffic is immense."

 

Lotus Tours, which is also awaiting payment from the company, has stopped issuing air tickets online except for bookings via QQ or email. CEO Ken Ng said: "Our monthly transaction is small, less than HK$10 million (US$1.3 million), so we are not seriously affected.

 

"However, it's an issue of business trust so once the management clears their internal issues, we may resume the service,” he added.

 

For Nan Hwa (Express) Travel Service executive director Jason Shum, on the other hand, business has resumed with Shijie99 since early December after the Chinese B2B site cleared the issues. He said: “We have been paid through weekly BSP and booking traffic is starting to come in again. Frankly, the site generates a lot of business for us.”

 

However, Shijie99's predicament is not confined to Hong Kong only, as "quite a number" of suppliers in Singapore and Taiwan were affected by Shijie99's partial closure of services, Shum told TTG Asia.

 

Since its establishment in April 2014, Shijie99 has grown to become one of China's leading travel e-commerce aggregators with over 300 staff.

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