China’s booming online travel business is getting increasingly cutthroat, as Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and other Chinese Internet giants look to tap the surging ranks of Chinese tourists. Alibaba this week unveiled an independent travel marketplace branded Alitrip, a revamp of its Taobao Travel arm. The company said Alitrip is a “logical extension” of its strategy and has more than 10,000 merchants, adding that there is still a “large, unmet demand” for online travel services. The new platform has already signed agreements with Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd. and hotel-booking site Agoda.com. It is the latest maneuver by one of China’s three most powerful Internet companies - Alibaba, Tencent Holdings Ltd. and Baidu Inc. - for more of the booming Chinese travel business. China tourism revenue rose 14% to 2.95 trillion yuan ($480.88 billion) in 2013 from the prior year, according to the China National Tourism Administration. International travel from China jumped 18% to 98.2 million tourists, while domestic travel increased about 10% to 3.26 billion tourists. Boston Consulting Group estimates that by 2030, tourists from China will make up approximately 40% of outbound Asian travelers, taking 1.7 billion trips annually, up from 500 million trips taken in 2012, the latest year for which data were available. It predicts Chinese tourists will spend about $1.8 trillion on travel and tourism by 2030, nearly seven times what they spent two years ago. Though brick-and-mortal travel agencies still dominated in China in 2013, online travel retail sales are expected to grow at a compounded annual growth rate of 17%, according to market-research firm Euromonitor International, with mobile bookings expected to become a large piece of the online market. Get the full story at The Wall Street Journal Read also "Alibaba eyes online travel"