Chinese travel brands saw impressive growth last year, according to Brandz latest rankings of the top 100 Chinese brands. Much like last year, Ctrip was the big winner in the Brandz rankings in terms of growth among travel brands. The online travel agency (OTA) climbed to rank 34 on the entire list, growing in value by 36 percent and reaching a value of $3.06 billion compared to last year’s figure of $2.26 billion. Ctrip-owned OTA, Qunar, also made the list for the first time this year with a value of $1.159 billion.

Still, Ctrip is not China’s most valuable travel brand according to Brandz, this title is retained by Air China with a value of $5.237 billion, growing by 8 percent from $4.845 billion and ranked 21 overall.

China’s most valuable travel brand for 2018 is Air China, with Ctrip and China Eastern in a distant 2nd and 3rd respectively

According to the report, these are China’s most valuable travel brands in 2018:

  1. Air China, $5.237 billion (+8 percent)
  2. Ctrip, $3.063 billion (+36 percent)
  3. China Eastern, $3.013 billion (+3 percent)
  4. China Southern, $2.502 billion (4 percent)
  5. Qunar, $1.159 billion (list newcomer)
  6. Hainan Airlines, $861 million (-5 percent)
  7. Home Inn, $686 million (+46 percent)
  8. Hanting, $670 million (+50 percent)
  9. Caissa, $355 million (-17 percent)

Still, while many of China’s top travel companies have made impressive gains on the list overall, Tencent and Alibaba are still indisputably China’s most valuable brands. Tencent took the top spot with a valuation of $132.213 billion and Alibaba came in second with $88.623 billion.

While Tencent and Alibaba are primarily tech and retail companies respectively, they have made impressive inroads in the last few years in terms of travel. Both offer mobile payments platforms, WeChat Pay and Alipay, that have become staples of Chinese travel and consumer life in general. Moreover, Alibaba owns its own OTA, Fliggy.

HNA Group’s major travel subsidiaries unsurprisingly slid in value compared to last year

A clear loser in the travel field on this list was HNA. Two of the group’s biggest travel brands, Hainan Airlines and Caissa, both unsurprisingly shrank in value. The conglomerate is currently in free fall because of its over-aggressive, debt-fueled acquisitions, something we at Jing Travel have covered extensively.

On the other hand, domestic hoteliers Home Inn and Hanting did remarkably well. While our coverage tends to focus on outbound Chinese travel, China’s domestic travel market is much larger and growing incredibly quickly. The domestic travel industry pulled in $720 billion in revenue last year, growing by 15.9 percent. With their budget hospitality options, it’s unsurprising that the brand value of Home Inn and Hanting grew by 46 percent and 50 percent respectively.


Travel Trends