The Lunar New Year is still a month away, but China's online travel industry started the 2016 calendar year with fireworks. In the space of just one week: Qunar's CEO announced his exit; Alibaba Group abandoned its corporate travel services partnership with Ctrip; and Qunar faced an airline revolt, with more than a dozen carriers closing their flagship stores on its platform. To close out the week, Ctrip announced it would invest US$180 million to become the biggest shareholder in Indian online travel agency (OTA) MakeMyTrip, with a 27% stake. A year ago, Ctrip had two major competitors: Expedia's eLong, which appeared to be past its prime; and Baidu-controlled Qunar, which had taken the fight down the funnel and straight to Ctrip, morphing from a metasearch site into an OTA. Qunar's new strategy depended heavily on the online marketplace model popularized in China by Alibaba, and Ctrip made its own marketplace a bigger priority. Ctrip, Qunar and eLong were bleeding cash, thanks to rampant discounting to spur customer acquisition. That drag on profitability was certainly a factor in the two deals that reshaped China's online travel industry in 2015: Expedia's sale of eLong to Ctrip, and Baidu's forcing the consolidation that ultimately brought together Ctrip, Qunar and eLong. With its two biggest competitors now neutralized, one might think Ctrip sits pretty. But in a hypercompetitive e- and m-commerce market, there is no rest for the weary. For starters, Ctrip will soon need to figure out how to leverage its new position vis-a-vis Qunar. Get the full story at Phocuswright