TOKYO -- Japan's H.I.S. and LY.com, the third-largest online travel agency in China, will establish a joint venture to tap the growing number of Chinese tourists visiting Japan.
LY.com has grown rapidly since its 2004 founding but has been slow to cultivate overseas markets.
The joint venture will soon be established in Japan, with LY.com taking a majority stake. Through an LY.com smartphone app boasting more than 800 million downloads, the new company will sell tour packages developed by H.I.S. A call center will be set up in Japan to offer 24-hour assistance for Chinese travelers.
Japan Holiday Travel, an H.I.S. subsidiary that develops travel products for Chinese visiting Japan, will also get involved.
H.I.S. projects group revenue of 579.7 billion yen ($4.76 billion) for the year ended October, up 11% on the year. The major Japanese travel agency has done business with LY.com through Japan Holiday Travel and is now set to drastically expand its offerings.
Chinese travelers to Japan numbered about 3.83 million in the January-September period, more than double the year-earlier figure and accounting for 26% of overall foreign visitors, the Japan National Tourism Organization estimates.
Chinese tourists are venturing out to a variety of destinations around the world. According to the United Nations' World Tourism Organization, Chinese traveling abroad likely topped 100 million in 2014. H.I.S. and LY.com are thinking about tying up on destinations beyond Japan as well.