The travel agency Ctrip has approached the artificial intelligence specialist Baidu, within atmosphere of mistrust of Chinese technology companies.
The two Chinese companies, the travel agency Ctrip and the technology company Baidu, have announced that they have joined forces. As part of their agreement, Baidu will deploy its artificial intelligence capabilities to provide Ctrip with tourism scenario solutions. Both companies will be able to analyze data related to the interests, habits and preferences of Ctrip users in order to create new tourism products.
The service will be complemented by the Cloud service - allowing Ctrip to store its data on Baidu's servers - which is expected to reduce the company's costs.
Understanding the human being
Baidu is expanding its artificial intelligence business activities in all sectors and has announced the installation of an AI cloud computing centre in the Chinese city of North Baoding as part of its latest efforts to build smarter cities.
The company's CEO, Robin Li, redefined the company's vision last month, with the goal of making it a world-class high-tech company that not only understands users, but also provides products that enable human beings' "personal growth".
Partnerships with hotel leaders
In its latest efforts to stimulate the development of smart tourism, Baidu has teamed up with InterContinental Hotel Group to equip 100 suites in 40 British properties in China.
Guests will be able to ask the intelligent assistant (voice command) for basic information such as travel time between the hotel and the airport, room services and also to adjust the temperature, air conditioning, lighting, curtains, etc.
The Ctrip travel agency has for its part worked closely with several hotel groups, including AccorHotels, Meliá and Radisson, to give them better access to Chinese customers. In particular, AccorHotels had sealed its partnership with Ctip around four pillars: increasing the visibility of AccorHotels certified by Ctrip, creating a "Flagship store" for AccorHotels, jointly developing loyalty programs and cooperating in information technology.
Chinese technological advances in a context of mistrust
In terms of technological advances, European hoteliers must work with American companies such as the GAFAs as well as Chinese companies driven by the state's political will to become a key player in Artificial Intelligence. While companies across the Atlantic have announced compliance with the European data regulation (GDPR), China's 800 million Internet users have no protection in this area.
While the partnership between Ctrip and Baidu will make it possible to better study tourist behaviour and innovate, it happens in a context of mistrust of Chinese technology companies, suspected in some countries of having potential links with their intelligence services. Last year, Australia and the United States, among others, banned the Chinese firm Huawei from participating in the deployment of 5G in their territories.
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