Starting in December, KLM and its partner Air France will be the first non-Asian carriers to open their own web store on Alibaba’s Alitrip platform, a popular travel booking site where Chinese consumers will be able to purchase KLM-tickets directly from the airline.
The web store is expected to significantly increase online sales in China as well as expand brand awareness of KLM with Alibaba’s enormous consumer base.
The signing took place in Hangzhou during a Dutch trade mission to China and was attended by King Willem-Alexander, Alibaba CEO Jack Ma and KLM President & CEO Pieter Elbers.
KLM deepening China presence
This new initiative is in line with KLM’s ambitions in China, where the airline previously became the first foreign carrier to offer 24/7 customer service via the Chinese social media platforms Weibo and WeChat.
The Chinese market is now one of KLM’s five largest markets worldwide. The Netherlands-based carrier currently serves seven destinations in the Greater China region: Beijing, Shanghai, Xiamen, Chengdu, Hangzhou, Hong Kong and Taipei.
“Due to its extensive route network, KLM is well positioned in China to benefit from the growing demand for international travel,” said Pieter Elbers, KLM President & CEO.
“Hangzhou is also special, as KLM is the only airline to offer direct services to and from Europe. With this new partnership, we aim to reach a broader Chinese consumer audience in this strategically important market.”