Sina Corporation announced recently that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Fortune Trip, an online hotel booking company based in Shanghai.

After the acquisition, Sina expects Fortune Trip to become a cornerstone of its expanded effort into E- Commerce.

In the past five years, China has seen a rapid growth in its economy. Along with this growth, its travel industry has expanded dramatically experiencing a 12.9% compounded annual growth from 1998 through 2002. According to data from the China National Tourism Administration, the total tourism expenditure in China was roughly CNY388 billion (USD47 billion) in 2002. Simultaneously, with a rapidly expanding Internet population in China reaching 68 million users as of June 2003, according to CNNIC, an ever increasing amount of hotel information and booking are being researched and conducted over the Internet.

Fortune Trip is an online hotel booking company established in November 2001. It currently has over 130 employees with main operation based in Shanghai along with in-field sales and marketing personnel operating in several major metropolitan areas including Beijing, Shanghai and cities in Zhejiang and Guangdong provinces. Fortune Trip has a national coverage with over 1,000 hotels in its hotel network.

The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions including regulatory approvals and is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2004.

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