The Chinese mobile shopping app has begun offering direct sales of airline tickets, with China Southern being the first
Spotted: Chinese mobile social shopping app Pinduoduo (“shop more together”) has recently announced that airline tickets from China Southern Airlines would now be available on the site. Pinduoduo’s e-commerce platform is known for allowing shoppers to join together to buy products at a discount rate. The China Southern launch is the first time that airline tickets have been directly available on Pinduoduo.
The apps’ users will be able to book their China Southern airline tickets directly, through the “recharge centre” on the Pinduoduo’s app. Those buying airline tickets through the site will receive the same services as those using China Southern’s official website. The arrangement with China Southern is the app’s first foray into direct airline ticket sales, although the company has been moving toward air ticketing for some time.
In June 2020, B2B air travel platform 51Book announced it would begin sharing inventories, airfare information, technological resources and supply chains with Pinduoduo, as well as providing full-service online ticketing on the app. Previously, Pinduoduo invited travel merchants to use its platform to sell itinerary services, tourist attraction tickets and short-haul tours, as well as accommodation deals.
In August, Pinduoduo partnered with major Chinese hotelier Huazhu Group to launch an e-store and make reservations at Huazhu’s 2,000 hotels accessible to Pinduoduo’s 568.8 million monthly active users. This was followed in December with the launch of a railway ticketing service on the site. However, some of the travel merchants who partnered with Pinduoduo have reported that, even though Pinduoduo charges a very low commission, the conversion rates are very low because the platform is not travel-focused.
Over the last few years, China’s powerhouse social media apps have been moving into shopping in a big way, often by partnering with existing brands. At Springwise, we have been following movement in this space, including our coverage of the partnership between online travel agency Tongcheng-Elong and video sharing site Kuaishou, and a WeChat mini-app targeted at Chinese tourists in Finland.
Written By: Lisa Magloff