China’s Ctrip International, which happens to be one of the biggest online travel booking platforms globally, has committed to invest around $180 million into India’s largest brand in that same segment — the Nasdaq-listed MakeMyTrip. As a part of the deal, Ctrip will have the right to appoint a director to the MakeMyTrip board.

The investment has been made through five years convertible bonds. Post conversion, Ctrip will own about 15 to 16 percent of the company. A majority of this fresh capital will be used by the company to further strengthen its market share in the Indian online travel market, especially through the mobile platform.

It is being said that the Chinese company is expected to pick up additional shares of MakeMyTrip in the open market. If it happens, then Ctrip will own close to 26.6 percent stake of the over $12.7 billion valued MakeMyTrip. With 26.6% stake in the company, it will become the largest stakeholder, ahead of SAIF Partners, Tiger Global and even founder and CEO Deep Kalra.

Deep Karla, founder and chief executive of MakeMyTrip, said,

We are delighted to have Ctrip invest in us. Ctrip is the dominant market leader in the online travel market in China. We believe there are many similarities in the Indian and Chinese online travel markets and we expect this strategic relationship between two market leaders to be mutually beneficial.

The investment becomes all the more interesting, as it continues to show massive interest from Chinese brands int Indian companies. MakeMyTrip will also join the likes of Ola, Snapdeal and Paytm — other Indian unicorns with massive Chinese backing.

Launched in 1999, International Ltd, is backed by US-based Priceline, which has invested $500 million in the Chinese company via convertible bonds. The online platform provides accommodation reservation, transportation ticketing, packaged tours and corporate travel management in China. It

James Liang, chairman and chief executive at Ctrip, said,

Today’s announcement marks the beginning of the strategic relationship between Ctrip and MakeMyTrip. Through this transaction, Ctrip has now gained exposure to India’s fast growing online travel market.

MakeMyTrip received an average of about 7.8 million unique visitors per month in fiscal year 2015. Its mobile application is one of the most widely used and best rated travel apps in India, with more than 12.5 million downloads.

In the year that ended on 31st March 2015, company”s revenue rose to $299.6 million from $255.3 million in the previous year. It narrowed its loss to $18.35 million from $20.9 million in the previous year.

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