“SEEING THE WORLD WITH THEIR OWN EYES”
JANE JIE SUN on the rise of tourism in China and the country’s newfound wanderlust.
Jane Jie Sun, your travel portal, Ctrip, is estimated to be worth 27 billion US dollars. What services do you provide for your customers?
Like a friend, we offer support for our customers before, during and after a trip. The goal is to ensure that their travel is efficient and well organized. Important features include 24-hour assistance and an emergency service that our customers can reach from anywhere in the world – if they are the victim of a crime, for example, or in the event of a natural disaster. But our customer base has changed dramatically since Ctrip was founded in 1999.
In what way?
Travel is no longer only for businesspeople. And our customers are looking for comprehensive packages rather than just hotels or flights. Because their purchasing power has increased, people from rural areas, too, have discovered tourism. It's no longer enough to take shopping trips abroad; many customers are looking for a big adventure and want to experience the local culture.
Last year, Ctrip purchased the Scottish platform Skyscanner and invested in the Indian company Makemytrip. Where do you see your company going over the long term?
We go where our customers are, and they no longer want to limit their travel to Southeast Asia. They're now traveling all over the world. So we need to follow them, and that means investing abroad. As a result, we need new partners.
Many Chinese people book their first trip through Ctrip, and this allows them to discover the world. How would you define your vision?
While I'm not changing the world by
About Ctrip Ctrip is a Chinese travel platform with an estimated market value of 27 billion US dollars. With over 200 million users, Ctrip is now one of the world's largest travel portals, second only to Expedia. Founded in 1999 and headquartered in Shanghai, the company was first listed on the New York Stock Exchange in 2003 and earned some 2.9 billion US dollars in 2016. Ctrip is known in China for its support for female employees. Among the benefits it provides are child care during summer vacations, as well as a bonus of roughly 8,000 Chinese yuan (almost 1,200 Swiss francs) for pregnant employees and free taxi rides to work during pregnancy.
myself, Ctrip clearly has the potential to bring more respect, friendship and understanding to the world. We encourage people to choose trips that enable them to see the world with their own eyes.
You studied abroad and worked in Silicon Valley, and then you returned to Shanghai to take a job with Ctrip. Why?
Throughout my career, I have always asked myself what I wanted to achieve and where I wanted to be. I saw returning to China from the United States as an opportunity – at least in part because I view myself as a bridge between the two countries. I decided to go into the tourism industry because of its enormous potential for growth. Given my experience with Western companies, I believed that I could make a positive contribution.
In China, in contrast to many Western countries, it’s almost routine for a woman to be the CEO of a company. Why is that the case?
Mao Zedong, the founder of the Chinese state, once said that women hold up half the sky. So we Chinese women have always believed that we should challenge ourselves and see how far we could go. Over half of our employees are women. But in China, too, there is room for improvement, and I think that people are becoming increasingly aware of the value of women's work. As a female executive, I feel a special responsibility to help women achieve their full potential.
Jane Jie Sun, 48, has been CEO of Ctrip since the end of 2016. She joined the Shanghai-based company in 2005, after spending several years working in Silicon Valley. Prior to that time, she studied business at the University of Florida and law at Beijing University. She has two children.