Zuji eyes top spot with Hong Kong kick off

HONG KONG (10/29/2003) - Coinciding with its advertising campaign roll out, Zuji Ltd, the online travel venture backed by 16 Asian airlines, has officially launched its travel Web site in Hong Kong almost a year on from its November 2002 soft launch.

Zuji claims a membership of over 250,000 in its four markets of Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan and Australia. Of that figure, 20,000 are in Hong Kong, with an estimated 80 percent being repeat customers, said Kerry Wong, general manager of Zuji Hong Kong. Wong boldly predicted Zuji would eventually be the number one online travel service provider in Asia-Pacific.

According to company statistics, Zuji has garnered 18 percent member growth each month since January 2003, with monthly transactions growing at 30 percent per month since February this year.

According to market research firm Hitwise, Zuji is the fifth most-visited travel Web site in Hong Kong, with Yahoo Hong Kong, which also utilizes Zuji's service, ranking first. Interestingly, Zuji's chief rival Priceline.com are also a service co-branded with Yahoo Hong Kong.

Wong also noted Zuji will work with other local Web sites to provide travel services, with announcements on these partnerships expected with the next two months. Zuji is also expected to develop a model to work with offline travel agents during 2004, she said.

As part of its expansion across Asia, Korea would be targeted next with China likely to figure in 2004, noted Wong. "Though China has certain issues that need to be resolved regarding wider Internet access and making secure online transactions," she said.

Zuji claims a more transparent experience with greater freedom of choice. Customers have access to over 300 airlines, 33,000 hotels and 50 car hire companies plus various tours and activities to choose from.

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