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Ascott partners Alitrip to attract 'independent' Chinese travellers

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"Ascott is delighted to be the world's first serviced residence company to form this global partnership with Alitrip," said Ascott CEO Lee Chee Koon.

ASCOTT, CapitaLand's serviced residence business, has formed a partnership with Alibaba's online travel platform in a bid to capture the shift towards independent travel by Chinese tourists.

Ascott's global network of serviced residences will be made available on Alitrip, which serves over 100 million Chinese travellers.

While Ascott already has 4,300 apartments from 24 of its China properties available for booking by Alitrip users through a directly operated online flagship store, the partnership will bring the figure up to 26,000 apartments in over 60 cities.

"Ascott is delighted to be the world's first serviced residence company to form this global partnership with Alitrip," said Ascott CEO Lee Chee Koon. "China is the world's second largest economy, and rising incomes are driving domestic travel and making it the world's biggest outbound travel market. These are potential customers for Ascott and our penetration of the Chinese market is already contributing to Ascott's business worldwide."

As Chinese travellers become increasingly tech-savvy and independent, many prefer to customise their travel itineraries, with more than 70 per cent of outbound travellers in 2014 booking trips on their own rather than joining tour groups, Mr Lee added. "We foresee further growth in independent travellers."