Alibaba Group's standalone travel business Alitrip has signed "a content and data partnership agreement" with Travelport.
The deal has a number of strands. In terms of content, there is an option for Travelport-connected agents outside China to list their deals or set up a branded store on Alitrip marketplace.
While technical details are confidential, it appears as if this effectively opens up Alitrip's Chinese audience to any Travelport agent.
Alitrip in turn expects that this will expand the range of international trips available on its site and bring more traffic and revenue.
The data deal sees Alitrip access Travelport's price and availability data on non-Chinese flights and feed that into its own metasearch channel.
The move is an example of how international travel technology firms are accessing the Chinese market and in different ways. With limited chances of getting involved in domestic distribution of travel content, international outbound is the best route.
Amadeus has a partnership with Ctrip and provides the flight inventory for Ctrip's point-of-sales outside of China as Ctrip looks to enter the global OTA stage. Alitrip is not currently planning to become a global OTA, so the Travelport tie-up is more about its attempt to become the leading OTA in China.