William Bao Bean

Who will survive in the travel industry: the global giants or the local ventures, was a question for William Bao Bean, managing director of the Shanghai-based Chinaccelerator, at the WIT 2017 Conference in Singapore. William, who guided hundreds of startups, believes the big internet firms will crush the small ones, writes WebinTravel.


One critical question on everyone’s mind was who would emerge victorious in the online travel market: Local or global players?

Bean offered a slightly pessimistic view, remarking, “the big is getting bigger and the small are getting crushed,” and citing the example of how Facebook and Google currently control the majority of global advertising; or how payments and e-commerce are now owned or invested in by Tencent and Alibaba.

He did also add that “travel is insulated,” but nevertheless, its turf will be harder to defend from global players over time. “If they don’t have a short, they’ll use money as a weapon and acquire” businesses that will let them get ahead…

So, the big are getting bigger, but “they can be quite myopic”. It grants smaller companies and startups with a slim but existent window of opportunity to sneak ahead. But they must also be aware of common pitfalls, to avoid common mistakes that befall many entrepreneurs.

Bean argued, “the dumbest thing entrepreneurs do” is trust their gut when trying to expand their brand globally from the get go. “You cannot go with your gut, because it will take you in the wrong direction.”

Instead Bean recommended “focusing on data and trying things,” encouraging “companies to use data to back up their decisions.” He continued, “you will fail, but it will help you to fail faster” and recover sooner.

More in WebinTravel.

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