Qunar, which means “where are you going?” in Mandarin Chinese, recently announced its formal launch after a successful two-month beta test period as one of Asia’s first travel search engines.

Qunar’s launch represents a significant step in the development of the constantly changing, albeit rapidly growing online travel industry within the region. For the first time, through Qunar.com consumers can quickly, easily – and in real time – compare virtually all available prices for air tickets, hotels, car rentals and tour packages. In other words, Qunar allows consumers to get the best choices and value.

The company plans to complete beta testing of its English, Japanese and Korean versions, and plans a formal launch later this summer.

According to Wendy Foo, Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Netease, “Qunar brings a substantial amount of value to travel consumers, and fills an unmet need in the market”.

Qunar was founded in early 2005 by three entrepreneurs with a number of years experience operating exclusively in the Asian region: Douglas Khoo, CC Zhuang, and Fritz Demopoulos. This is the same entrepreneurial team whose members developed and sold the CSEEK search engine to the News Corporation and founded and sold the Shawei.com portal to Hutchison Whampoa-affiliate The Tom Group.

With a technology and product development team based in Beijing and directly located next to Beijing University and Tsinghua University, the company has developed its own proprietary multi-language price comparison search engine in conjunction with these leading institutions.

Bruce Sweigert, formerly a senior executive with United Airlines, Orbitz and Sabre said, “Certainly, Qunar is the market leader in Asia, and we look forward to meeting the needs of the fast growing travel industry.”