Alibaba will spin off its online travel business, previously run as Taobao Travel, to create an independent brand Alitrip, the company said in a statement, adding that the new platform will be an “integral” part of the group. “Alitrip will enrich our ecosystem and create value for users by providing them with high-quality service and an array of new functions,” said Alitrip general manager Li Shaohua. China already has two major online travel agencies, Ctrip and Elong. Headquartered in the eastern city of Hangzhou, Alibaba operates China’s most popular online shopping platform, Taobao, which is estimated to hold more than 90% of the online market for consumer-to-consumer transactions. Get the full story at AFP and