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Business Travel Market in China: Huge Potential for Professional Travel Management

London, 18/10/2010

In its recent White Paper, AirPlus International, publishes background information and key data on travel management in China. The roughly 30-page document was written in cooperation with the Association of Corporate Travel Executives (ACTE).

The white paper provides know-how about the Chinese business travel market together with specific recommendations for action and current information for business travel managers at international companies.

Rapid economic growth – what does that mean for travel management?

The Chinese economy is growing rapidly, and with it the business travel market, which is currently the world’s third largest. Experts predict business travel expenditure of USD 62 billion in 2010, and forecasts for the next ten years assume a figure of USD 277 billion for 2020. China would then progress from being the third to the second-largest international business travel market, and would cooperate even more frequently with providers in the Western business travel industry.

At present, however, there are still enormous differences in international and Chinese business travel standards in many areas, which often makes it difficult for travel managers to handle cooperation, particularly in international companies with branches in China. The recipes for success that have proved their worth in business travel management in Europe or the USA cannot simply be adapted to the Chinese market. Economic activities in this region are subject to different mechanisms, not least among them the framework conditions imposed by massive growth. Only 10% of Chinese companies work according to Western standards and have suitable travel guidelines or analytical tools. Employees who travel with company credit cards and use them for payment represent only 13%. “Another figure shows how important it is to have standardised travel management tools“, says Volker Huber, Senior Vice President Global Distribution AirPlus International. “Air travel accounts for 85% of all business trips within China. If the costs are not correctly controlled and analysed, companies are faced with unmanageable and exorbitant expenses.”

Cost control has not yet become established

Few Chinese companies have an awareness of costs and their permanent analysis, or the willingness to let their staff handle travel more independently. Travel managers obviously have much less time to perform their tasks than their international colleagues. Some 90% of Chinese business travel managers complain of time pressure, almost one third more than international travel managers (63%). “But we expect this to change as the Chinese economy continues to grow over the next few years. We therefore urgently advise companies that operate in this market to give thought to effective travel management and to develop corresponding programs,” Huber concludes.

About AirPlus International:

AirPlus International is a key provider of savings to over 32,000 customers worldwide through a suite of business travel payment solutions which include central bill accounts, corporate cards and online management tools. AirPlus is travel agency neutral, the leading issuer of UATP worldwide and the preferred partner of various airlines such as Air China, British Airways (NYSE:BAB), Continental Airlines (NYSE:CAL), Luxair, Lufthansa German Airlines, Austrian Airlines, Swiss International Air Lines, TAP Portugal and Singapore Airlines. For more information, please visit online at

About ACTE:

The Association of Corporate Travel Executives (ACTE) represents the global business travel industry through its international advocacy efforts, executive level educational programs, and independent industry research. ACTE's membership consists of senior travel industry executives from 82 countries representing the €463 billion business travel industry. Our members serve more than 12 million business travelers worldwide. With the support of sponsors from every major segment of the business travel industry, ACTE develops and delivers educational programs in key business centers throughout the world. ACTE has representation in Africa, Asia-Pacific, Canada, Europe, Latin America, Middle East and the United States. For more information on ACTE, please visit and follow us on twitter at:

For further information please contact:
Florian Graenzdoerffer
Phone + 49 (0) 61 02 204-165
Internet: Back

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