Local media report that Cao Zhigang, founder of Go10000, one of China's first online meta travel search engines, says his company has only made several thousand yuan since it first opened.
Different from Ctrip.com (CTRP) and eLong.com (LONG), two websites that provide comprehensive travel booking services in China, Go10000 is only a travel search engine that combines travel information of nearly 100 Chinese travel websites so that users can find necessary information within a short time.
However, different from foreign competitors like Kayak and Mobissimo, Go10000 operates in a country whose travel industry's prices are very standard for hotel and airline rates. Though meta travel search engines receive a certain amount of hype, it is difficult for them to offer users many price differentials.
In addition, with the rise of Web 2.0 and the popularity of search engines like Google (GOOG) and Baidu (BIDU), the underlying technology to create a meta search engine in the travel sector has become much easier to implement.
Most Chinese travelers are used to booking travel services directly with an operator or travel agent, instead of using a search engines to compare the services of each provider. As a result, Go10000 is not as popular as expected and has not made as much money as anticipated.
Cao says Go10000 has therefore changed its outlook and added two new sections: a travel information area and a online bulleting board system (BBS).