Tech Transformers

We have to understand China: Skyscanner CFO

How to book your holiday

Travel search site Skyscanner is capitalizing on China's growing outbound tourism rates by catering to regional tastes, the company's chief financial officer told CNBC.

In full-year earnings released Friday, the company said it clocked a 67 percent rise in Chinese visitors to the site, while its mobile users nearly doubled, helping deliver a 28 percent jump in revenue to $183 million.

Global visitors now average 50 million per month.

"The outbound travel for us is a major opportunity and we're obviously seeing increasing levels of outbound travel," Shane Corstorphine told CNBC on Friday.

"We have to understand China better."

Skyscanner raises $192M, becomes latest ‘unicorn’

After Skyscanner's acquisition of Chinese travel search startup Youbibi back in 2014, Corstorphine said that the company is working to cater more to local tastes, explaining that the company's strength is customizing its online site for regional users.

They've tweaked their online booking platform, for instance, noting that Chinese users prefer bigger buttons, and filters at the top of the web page rather than on the left hand side.

China outbound travel rose by 7.8 percent in 2015 compared to a year earlier, according to estimates by market intelligence firm Euromonitor International. That number is expected to jump a further 6.2 percent in 2016 to total over 72.5 million trips, thanks to rising discretionary spending.

Households with an annual disposable income over US$ 35,000 – which is the industry threshold for international travel – is set to increase from 34 million in 2015 to 121 million in 2030, Wouter Geerts, a travel analyst with Euromonitor International told CNBC by email.

Passengers walk through the terminal building of Shanghai Pudong International Airport in Shanghai, China, on Saturday, Oct. 26, 2013.
Bloomberg | Bloomberg | Getty Images

That's despite widespread fears of a Chinese economic slump.

"While 2015 has been characterized by a struggling Chinese economy, with a falling stock market, cautious investors and tumbling commodity prices, it seems unlikely that this will halt the appetite for outbound travel amongst Chinese consumers," he said.

The expansion in Chinese travel is helping fuel an online travel industry that worth over half a trillion dollars that is growing by 10 percent year-on-year, according to Corstorphine's estimates, and investors have taken note.

The British company successfully raised $192 million in its latest round of funding last month to becoming the newest British start-up valued over $1 billion.