Chinese New Year, Queen Elizabeth Brexit, Women Warm Up to Power: Broadsheet February 4
Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Women leaders are warming up to ‘power,’ Queen Elizabeth is the only one with a Brexit plan, and one CEO will have a very festive Chinese New Year. Have a marvelous Monday!
• Happy New Year to this CEO. Tomorrow is the start of the Chinese New Year, when the lunar calendar flips to the Year of the Pig. The weeks-long holiday also marks the largest annual human migration, with China’s 1.7 billion people making a whopping 3 billion trips. The travel frenzy is known to snarl highway traffic, clog airports, and overwhelm train stations. And you thought Thanksgiving weekend in the U.S. was madness.
Through it all though, one company is sitting especially pretty: Ctrip.com International, China’s leading online travel agent headed by CEO Jane Jie Sun. Ctrip, founded as a travel comparison site in 1999, has a stranglehold on 60% of China’s online travel market; after Priceline Group, it’s the world’s second-largest online travel hub. This New Year it expects to service Chinese travelers with 390 million domestic trips, plus 7 million outbound journeys.
Fortune‘s Eamon Barrett explains how Ctrip gained its travel industry stature:
The company’s first revenues came from hotel bookings, into which Ctrip expanded after the dotcom bubble burst and investor capital dried up. Two years later the company added flight reservations to its portfolio of services, then package holidays, corporate travel, bus tickets, train tickets and travel logistics.
Since 2003, when the company listed on Nasdaq, its market cap has swollen to 40-times its pre-IPO value and annual revenues have surged from $40.3 million in 2004 to $4.1 billion in 2017.
Sun, No. 32 on Fortune’s Most Powerful Women International list, joined the company in 2005 as its CFO. She then became its COO and co-president before landing the CEO gig in 2016. (During her tenure, she’s introduced several perks for female employees such as free taxi rides for pregnant workers and summer camps at Ctrip’s HQ for staff with young kids.)
As eye-popping as Ctrip’s track record is its potential for growth. Chinese tourists made 131 million trips overseas in 2017 and spent a total of $250 billion. McKinsey expects those figures to jump to 160 million and $350 billion, respectively, by 2020. Since just 5% of Chinese citizens currently hold a passport, outbound travel from the country has, ahem, quite the runway.
Sun illustrates China’s appetite for travel in this way: “In 2017 we offered 22 high-end tour packages priced at $200,000 each. It only took us 17 seconds to sell them all.” Put bluntly, she says, in China, “the buying power is there.” Fortune
ALSO IN THE HEADLINES
• Powering up. In a new op-ed, Fortune MPW Summit co-chairs Pattie Sellers and Nina Easton use Nancy Pelosi’s deft shutdown strategy to examine women’s “tortured relationship with power—particularly when it comes to deploying it for their own ends.” Fortune
• Super Bowl blitz. There were plenty of feel-good and funny Super Bowl ads, but one was particularly biting. Canada’s automaker union Unifor broadcast a commercial calling for a boycott of Mexican-built GM vehicles in an effort to save the Oshawa Assembly Plant that’s set to close this year. The ad ran in Canada even though GM, whose CEO Mary Barra announced plant closures last year, called the spot knowingly false and sent the union a “cease and desist” notice. Detroit News
• Goodbye, G.O.A.T. American Lindsey Vonn, the most decorated female skier of all time, announced her retirement on Friday due to nagging injuries. “My body is broken beyond repair and it isn’t letting me have the final season I dreamed of. My body is screaming at me to STOP and it’s time for me to listen,” she said. The Olympic medalist finishes her career having won 82 World Cup races—five short of the all-time record she’d longed to break. Outside
• Media mayhem. Vice Media on Friday announced plans to cut about 10% of its workforce, or some 250 people, in a reorganization that will look to reduce redundancies internationally and focus more narrowly on film and TV production and branded content. The layoffs, which follow job cuts at BuzzFeed and Huffington Post, are part of new CEO Nancy Dubuc’s strategic plan to rein in spending and reach profitability at the once high-flying startup. Hollywood Reporter
MOVERS AND SHAKERS: The Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University has a new dean in Francesca Cornelli, a deputy dean at the London Business School. Maria Torres-Springer, most recently head of New York City’s housing-development agency, is leaving city government for a job overseeing U.S. poverty and injustice efforts at the Ford Foundation.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
• Flipping the script. The forthcoming film What Men Want, starring Taraji P. Henson and modeled after the 2000 Nancy Meyers flick What Women Want, is the latest gender-swapping movie remake. It builds on the trend started by Ghostbusters and Ocean’s 8. Up next? A female-led Dirty Rotten Scoundrels reboot and supposedly a reimagined Splash with Channing Tatum as a merman (please let that rumor be true!). NY Post
• What a send-off. Do you know of pilot Rosemary Mariner? You should. She became one of the first women to earn her Navy wings in 1973, she was the first woman to fly a tactical fighter jet a year later and, in 1990, she was the first to command a squadron in the lead-up to the Gulf War. Mariner died in January of ovarian cancer. At her funeral on Saturday, the Navy honored her with another first: a flyover of fighter jets piloted exclusively by women. Washington Post
• Better than ever? Pamela Adlon gets the New Yorker treatment in a new profile in which the writer, actor, and Better Things showrunner reflects on her sudden stardom and her relationship with longtime creative partner Louis C.K. The upcoming third season of her FX show has an all-female editing room, or, as Adlon calls it, “our little estrogen chamber.” New Yorker
• At least someone’s ready. A no-deal Brexit is expected to induce economic hardship and overall chaos. Should that happen in the U.K. capital, Queen Elizabeth might not be around to see it. The Sunday Times reports she and other senior royals will be evacuated from London if riots break out due to a no-deal outcome. The proposed evacuation is modeled after Cold War-era plans that would’ve seen the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh moved to a secret location in the event of a nuclear attack. The Times
ON MY RADAR
Elaine Chao came to the U.S. when she was 8. Now, she’s one of the top women in Washington. The Lily
Mattel and National Geographic team up for a new line of Barbie Dolls Fortune
Glaxo Smith Kline, led by CEO Emma Walmsley, pins hope on cancer drugs The Times
Cardi B declined Super Bowl halftime with ‘mixed feelings’ Associated Press