Qantas will be the first Australian airline to open an online store on Alibaba’s travel platform, Fliggy.

Formerly known as Alitrip, Fliggy is a major direct sales platform for airlines targeting the China market, with more than 20 international carriers running online booking stores.

The store is part of Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed by Qantas International CEO Gareth Evans and Fliggy Vice President Jerry Hu to establish a strategic relationship, which also has scope for joint marketing campaigns to Alibaba Group’s 507 million mobile active users.

Evan said Qantas’ partnership with Fliggy forms another part of the airline’s growth strategy for China and the broader Asian region.

“With travel between China and Australia booming, a Qantas booking page on Fliggy is an exciting opportunity for us to have a connection with younger Chinese travellers, who increasingly turn to mobile applications like Fliggy and online sites to research and purchase travel,” Evans said.

“Australia is one of the top destinations on the wish list for many Chinese travellers, and following the launch of our direct service from Beijing to Australia in January, we now have the Qantas Group’s largest ever network in Greater China.”

Together with its partners Qantas operates more than 130 weekly return flights between Australia and China. The deal with Alibaba will be a major marketing boost for the airline, helping Qantas target younger mobile-savvy users.

“With the popularity of mobile Internet and its impact on commerce, Fliggy can provide brands with a large customer base, as well as facilitate direct communication with their customers,” Jerry Hu said.

“Fliggy can also provide consumer insights to help brands improve their marketing, membership system, services levels, and continuously optimise the consumer travel experience.”

This week Marriott International established a joint venture with Figgy to manage the Marriott’s storefront on the platform.

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