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Ctrip's nerve center at its Shanghai headquarters gathers data from 300 million users to make suggestions tailored to their preferences. (Photo by Sanmiao Photo)
Company in focus

China's Ctrip faces turbulence in journey to the top

Online travel giant forced to fend off rising tech rivals in uncertain economic times

ERI SUGIURA, Nikkei staff writer | China

SHANGHAI/TOKYO -- The data center inside the Shanghai headquarters of Ctrip.com International, China's biggest online travel agency, looks like a war room. Huge screens with maps of the globe stretch across the walls, logging in real time the travel plans of some 300 million users.

"We gather travel habits from past behavior to make an algorithm for the best personalized suggestion," said Jane Sun, the chief executive officer of Ctrip, in an interview with the Nikkei Asian Review. "Even if the user decided not to make a booking, the keywords they search are still important as they show that person's intention."

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