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Travelocity eyes China, India with portal purchase

The company gets full ownership of Zuji, an Asian travel specialist, as it expands its global operations.

U.S.-based Internet travel service provider Travelocity has fully acquired Asian online travel portal Zuji.

In a deal worth $34 million, the company acquired full ownership of Zuji, according to a Travelocity statement Wednesday. Launched in 2002, Zuji has presence in Australia, Hong Kong, Korea, New Zealand, Singapore and Taiwan.

Prior to the purchase, Travelocity and its affiliates held only a 13.6 percent stake in Zuji. The remaining stakes were held by Abacus International, AGC Holdings and a consortium of 15 airline companies in the region.

"It is a natural progression for Travelocity to take full ownership of Zuji and the purchase positions us nicely for future growth in the fast-growing Asia-Pacific region," Travelocity CEO Michelle Peluso said in the statement. "This acquisition, coupled with our acquisitions in Europe last year, demonstrates how we are continuing to expand the Travelocity network globally."

With the completion of the deal, the company said it intends to expand its presence into China and India. Other plans include improving the capabilities and scope of Zuji's travel partner network, which includes Yahoo, with the possibility of expanding beyond the Asia-Pacific region.

Scott Blume, CEO of Zuji, noted in the statement that the change in ownership will "not adversely impact" its day-to-day operations, Web sites, customer bookings and supplier relations.

The staff of ZDNet Asia reports from Singapore.