Zuji cleared for take off

Zuji cleared for take off

The latest travel portal to land in Australia has been cleared by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission following investigations under section 45 of the Trade Practices Act.

The Zuji e-commerce portal is a joint venture between airlines such as Qantas, Cathay Pacific, Malaysian Airlines, Royal Brunei, China Airlines, Singapore Airlines, All Nippon, Japan Airlines and the US-based online travel agency, Travelocity. Operating from Singapore in the Australian market, Zuji uses the VeriSign PayFlow payment gateway application and competes with local players such as Priceline.com, Travel.com.au and Webjet.

Section 45 prohibits some joint venture agreements if they could reduce competition in the Australian market.

In an announcement made today, the ACCC said that at present, it finds Zuji to be a "new online competitor to the travel industry that has the potential to deliver a greater choice."

Jo O'Brien, the acting country manager for Zuji in Australia said, "The ACCC announcement completes the picture for us."

Despite not intervening, the ACCC did add a proviso to its announcement. "The ACCC has noted some concerns from the industry that if consortium members gave favourable treatment to Zuji over other travel agents in negotiating fare access, it could have a detrimental impact on competition between Zuji and other travel agents."

Head of the ACCC Professor Fels said in a statement, "Given that online travel services are still in the early stages of development and Zuji is a new competitor in this area, the ACCC does not intend to oppose the operation of Zuji in Australia at this stage. Nevertheless, the ACCC will continue to monitor it to ensure that neither Zuji, nor its owners, engage in anti-competitive conduct".

The ACCC is monitoring e-commerce for its potential for anti-competitive "collective e-commerce, but recognises the technologies ability to deliver "great benefits".

For the full story on Zuji's e-commerce implementation get the November/December issue of Image & Data Manager magazine. To subscribe online click here.

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