Smart travel app makes debut
A mobile app called Dajiu-xing, which is targeted specifically at Chinese outbound travelers, was officially launched in China on March 30, according to its developer Jiang Tai Insurance Brokers.
The Beijing-based insurance company said that the app was created in light of the growing number of Chinese outbound tourists in recent years and provides these individuals with easy access to a host of services they might need during their travels.
Private security companies, chartered flight agencies, car rental outlets, healthcare providers and real estate services in 200 countries and regions around the world have joined the virtual marketplace since it started pilot operations in December 2016.
The company also claimed that local service providers will respond to tourists' requests in as short as 30 seconds, with the prices of services starting from 200 yuan ($29). Chinese travelers are also able to claim the expenses for some of these services using their travel insurance.
According to the insurance company, translation and interpretation services are among the most frequently required services by Chinese travelers.
"We have noticed that many services can help outbound tourists solve problems before the situation becomes serious," said Shen Kaitao, president of Jiang Tai Insurance Brokers. "Prompt help is most needed when a tourist is traveling in another country, especially when he or she does not speak the local language."
Statistics from the National Tourism Administration showed that there were 180 million outbound trips made by Chinese tourists in 2016, up from 128 million in 2015. The figure is expected to grow to 500 million by 2020.
This increase in tourist figures also meant a spike in the number of travel-related incidents overseas, such as stolen luggage and wallets, injuries and flight delays, according to research by Hua Tai Insurance.
According to research findings by Swiss Re, the world's second-largest reinsurer, worldwide losses caused by natural and man-made disasters hit a four-year high in 2016, costing insurers $54 billion and resulting in economic losses of $175 billion.
Hu Weiping, head of the China Industry Overseas Development Association, said that many Chinese these days also travel for business and hence require consultancy services as well.
He noted that the demand for business-related services has been on the rise.
A marketplace for such services, when established with a global network of supporting functions such as human resources, tax services, compliance and risk management, will significantly help Chinese enterprises reduce risks and costs for setting up businesses in a new market outside China, said Hu.