Skyscanner enters Japanese market with Yahoo joint venture

Skyscanner enters Japanese market with Yahoo joint venture

Skyscanner is joining forces with Yahoo Japan in a joint venture to enter the burgeoning Japanese online travel sector.

The Edinburgh-based travel price comparison site and Japan’s leading online portal are launching Skyscanner Japan, a search engine dedicated to the country’s multibillion-dollar travel market.

The pair have pledged to share technology and talent in the battle over one of the world’s biggest markets for travel bookings.

The companies will put in a total of $2.5 million to launch the joint venture. Skyscanner will hold a 51% stake and Yahoo Japan will own the remaining 49%.

Skyscanner will provide its technology to power flight search results.

Yahoo Japan will promote the travel search engine to its huge web audience in the country, accounting for 60 billion monthly page views across its search engine and digital media sites.

The joint venture will run independently but both sides will second executives to Tokyo to start the business. A chief executive has yet to be appointed, the Financial Times reported.

Skyscanner chief executive, Gareth Williams, said: “The joint venture makes sense because we get a chance to integrate directly into the search results of Yahoo Japan, from which we both benefit, and that helps us move up the funnel to the point that someone switches on their phone or computer.

“We’ll be looking to do more of that with search engines around the world.”

Skyscanner said the joint venture would give it more visibility in a country which represents the world’s third largest travel market and is expected to account for $71 billion in travel bookings in 2015, according to travel research group Phocuswright.

Skyscanner last year bought Chinese travel search company  Youbibi. The company has seen a 61% year-on-year increase in unique visitors from China, growing to more than one million users a month.

“Asia is becoming by far the greatest region for outbound travel,” Williams said.

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