Last Updated Oct 31, 2009 3:16 AM EDT
Expedia Inc., which has been sued by 59 U.S. cities and counties for unpaid hotel taxes and is likely paying out $185 million in a consumer class-action suit, probably sees China as an easy place to do business. At least it's probably a less litigious one. Add that domestic tourism in China rose 10 percent from 2005 to 2008 and Expedia probably can't wait to get its hands on some of that easy yuan.
The crucial element for TripAdvisor is timing. Its direct competition is Ctrip.com, a company that makes money based on bookings, unlike the TripAdvisor model of charging advertisers. Right now Ctrip is Goliath, but without any new inroads into China's online travel industry, Expedia can't be expected to even get close enough to use its slingshot.