The relationship between Booking Holdings and Ctrip was seen primarily through the "frenemy" prism - but the pair have now gotten even closer.
The CEO of the jewel in the crown of Booking Holdings, Booking.com, has taken up a board seat with the Asia Pacific online travel agency giant, the companies announced this week.
The pair have a corporate relationship on a number levels, with Booking.com's director for APAC, Oliver Hua, sitting on the Ctrip board.
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But the connection has moved up the management chain further with the appointment of Gillian Tans, who replaces Hua as an "observer" for Booking Holdings at Ctrip.
The two giants of online travel have gradually moved into the same realm over the last few years, despite competing in some areas, such as Bookings Holdings' OTA Agoda brand in the region.
Ctrip's Skyscanner faces up squarely to Kayak, the fellow metasearch service that Booking Holdings bought for $1.8 billion in 2012.
Global corporate positioning system
Most recently, OpenTable's North American restaurant inventory was made available to users on Ctrip - a move that follows a six-year deal to share hotel inventory between the two brands.
But the biggest connection between the two is a financial one - Booking Holdings has invested close to $2 billion directly in Ctrip since 2012 (over the course of a number of tranches).
This long-term backing of Ctrip, giving what many believe is a hugely strategic advantage over its arch rival Expedia Group, has not been without activity elsewhere in the APAC region.
The architect of many of its acquisitions and investments over the years, Glenn Fogel, made his first his major move following a promotion to CEO with a $450 million backing of Meituan-Dianping in October 2017.
E-commerce brand Meituan-Dianping is considered the biggest candidate to seriously challenge Ctrip in the domestic market and has its ambitions outside of the country.