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Naspers injects R3.9bn into Indian online travel play

Emerging markets internet and media giant Naspers this week announced that it would be pumping another US$250-million into Indian online travel outfit Ibibo.

The company, which facilitates the booking of plane and bus tickets, also operates a ride-sharing service and provides hotel accommodation owners with room-booking and sales platforms.

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According to a press release put out by Naspers, the investment will be used to extend ibibo’s “leadership position in the Indian hotels category and on additional technology innovations”.

Ibibo reportedly processed more than 6.5-million transactions for the period October to December (Q3) 2015. It is the largest online travel company in India, generating more than 2.5x the transaction volumes of its nearest competitor. Goibibo hotel bookings meanwhile surpassed 1.6-million room nights during Q3, up 400% YOY. This, Naspers says, makes it the largest hotel booking platform in India. Mobile contributed to 71% of the bookings in the month of December 2015, up from 42% a year ago.

Read more: Indian Naspers property Ibibo confirms RedBus acquisition

“Our objective is to solve problems for the transportation and accommodation providers and to connect them to the travellers,” Ibibo Group Founder & CEO Ashish Kashyap said in a statement. “The commitment from both Naspers and Tencent to ibibo is testimony to the strength of our platforms and the opportunities ahead”.

Through Ibibo, Naspers was able to get into the Indian online space fairly early, priming it to buy a number of promising Indian startups, including bus ticketing platform Redbus in 2013.

It also gave it an avenue to roll out its payment gateway product PayU to the Indian market.

“The Indian ecommerce market, and the online travel segment in particular, offers exciting growth prospects for us as a group,” said Naspers CEO Bob van Dijk. “With a talented, proven management team and exceptional technology, ibibo is well positioned to benefit from an increasing number of people using online travel services going forward”.

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