Last year, when Glenn D. Fogel, managing director - Corporate Development and International, Priceline.com, spoke to EyeforTravel.com during the first edition of Travel Distribution China conference, he had said the company is looking for the right time to make an investment in China.

Nothing much has changed after one year.

Fogel, who is here in Beijing to attend the second edition, says, “We continue to explore the possibilities (in China). The growth rate is very exciting but there are also substantial risks involved. So we continue to evaluate the situation carefully.”

He acknowledged that even as the online travel growth rate is growing faster than travel in general in China, it still only contributes a single digit percentage of the total travel industry in China. “We are weighing different factors. We have not decided when, how, or if we are going to enter the market. While early participation is usually helpful for success, our track record in Europe, where we were not an early entrant, shows that one can be a late entrant and still be very successful,” he told EyeforTravel.com’s Ritesh Gupta, citing Priceline’s recent claim to be the largest online hotel service in Europe with projected gross bookings in Europe of $1.3 billion for 2006.

On what is critical before going ahead with operations in new markets, Fogel says, “We measure several things - opportunity, the associated risk, what our capabilities are and we then compare all of these factors to other opportunities around the world.”

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