Qunar files for $125 million public listing in the USNews / DistributionBy Karthick Prabu | October 1, 2013Share This article was originally published on The wait is over. Qunar, the biggest metasearch engine in China has filed for a $125 million IPO under the symbol of "QUNR" on the New York Stock Exchange.Earlier this year, Qunar's CEO Chenchao Zhuang revealed some key sales number about the company and spoke about a potential IPO.In 2011, China's biggest search engine Baidu.cominvested $306 million in Qunar, now owning a 62% in the company.Currently, Qunar has over 200 million web users, 40 million mobile users (though its apps have been downloaded over 100 million times) and it has achieved a revenue of $58.5 million for this year (as on June 30).The company has processed approximately 1.8 billion web and mobile search queries in 2012 and approximately 1.4 billion web and mobile search queries in the first six months in 2013 for air tickets and hotels. 23% of the search traffic for this year (as on June 30) was from its mobile channels.Below table shows the search traffic (in millions) for air and hotel products for the last four years.[table id=3791 /]Qunar's search portfolio has 125,000 flight routes operated by all domestic airlines in China and by over 410 international airlines. When it comes to hotels, the company has about 260,000 hotels in its inventory.Though Qunar is (primarily) a metasearch engine, it also has a TTS - Total Solution platform to enable customers to complete booking in Qunar's website itself, there by posing a direct threat to OTAs in the country.Key achievements in 2013In February 2013, Qunar launched a luxury hotel search portal that is considered as a direct competitor for Ctrip's HHtravel, and Zanadu.Recently, Qunar and the Ctrip, country's leading OTA agreed to form a strategic partnership. Both players agreed to boost the vacation product sales in each other portals.Last month, when Samsung unveiled one of its most expected product - Samsung Gear - Qunar app was pre-installed in the Gear along with the other travel app Tripit.The company acknowledges the innovation factor in online travel space. Qunar says: "Our success depends on our ability to retain and attract users, which require our continuous innovation to provide features and functions that make our website and mobile applications attractive to users. If we fail to innovate and improve our technology at a competitive pace, we may lose users to our competitors. "Constantly changing user preferences have affected and will continue to affect the online travel industry. We have developed products and services, such as itinerary management tools and location-based services, that are relatively new to users and they may not be able to achieve popularity. "If we fail to constantly tailor our products and services to accommodate our users’ changing needs and preferences, we may lose users. Decreases in our user traffic would significantly affect our business, resulting in fewer qualified clicks and less demand for our advertising services, which would materially and adversely affect our financial condition and operating results."Share this quote The $100 Billion china travel marketChina travel industry is a big deal. In 2012, China surpassed Japan to become the largest Asian country in terms of travel bookings. China's travel industry is estimated at a whopping $100 Billion, and by 2015 an estimated 24% of travel bookings in the country will be transacted online.Metasearch players grew faster than any other online travel category from Q2 2011 to Q2 2012, jumping from 28% to 38% of online travel traffic. Metasearch is also the biggest source of leads for Chinese OTAs and suppliers.Alibaba's strong penetration into China travel industry cannot be ignored. The group has a travel vertical at Taobao (eBay of China), it recently invested in a travel deal site Qyer, and it expanded the service of Etao (a shopping search engine) to offer hotel metasearch service too.Competitors of Qunar in China include Wego, Alibaba's Etao, TripAdvisor owned Kuxun.cn, and Tianxun (Skyscanner).NB:Bull image via Shutterstock.