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He added that the joint venture would marry its “brand heritage and expertise in international travel” with Fosun’s “local market knowledge and operation resources”. Qian Jiannong, president of Fosun’s tourism and commercial group, claimed that 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 this latest offering to gain a competitive advantage.
The two firms are putting in a combined £1.6m to launch the venture, which will also sell internal tours.The initiative, in which Fosun will have a 51 per cent stake, comes three months after the company took a five per cent stake in the UK-listed company for almost £92m. According to Reuters, Fosun is further expected to raise its stake in Thomas Cook to ten per cent. Thomas Cook will be sending managing director Reto Wilhelm to China in order to take charge of the business. Wilhelm previously headed Kuoni’s Asia and China division. “We are taking it sufficiently seriously that we have put our A-team in there,” said CFO Michael Healy. In the meantime, the two companies will sell holidays to Fosun’s Club Med properties in China and to a selection of Chinese hotels picked out by Thomas Cook’s team. In the long term, Fankhauser said Thomas Cook was planning to build some concept hotels in China. By Shané Schutte
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