Thomas Cook, Fosun form JV targeting Chinese tourism

Thomas Cook Group and Fosun International are creating a a joint venture to reportedly develop domestic, inbound and outbound tourism activities for the Chinese market under Thomas Cook brands. The move comes on the heels of a strategic partnership the two formed in March to look for opportunities in the Chinese market.

The joint venture will be 51-percent owned by Fosun and 49 percent by Thomas Cook. The two companies will put a total of GBP1.6 million into the venture to support its start-up, roughly half each, as reported by Alliance News. 

Fosun International is chaired by Chinese billionaire Guo Guangchang who started the investment group back in 1992. In March, it bought a 5-percent stake in the UK travel operator and said it plans to increase its stake to 10 percent, by buying shares in the open market over time. 

"Today marks a significant milestone in our strategic partnership with Fosun. We are excited at the prospects of entering the largest and fastest-growing tourism market in the world with such an experienced partner," Thomas Cook CEO Peter Fankhauser said.

"Today, there is a lack of innovation and differentiation in the travel product offerings for Chinese tourists in China and abroad, presenting an excellent opportunity for our new joint venture to gain a competitive advantage," Qian Jiannong, president of Fosun's Tourism & Commercial Group said.

The two companies expect the venture to be operational this fall.