Indian travel company MakeMyTrip recently debuted in the USA, drawing praise from expert travel industry analysts and a fair degree of controversy from its American competitors. After debuting its stock at $14 on the Nasdaq, the company’s shares gained over 67 percent towards the end of trading, moving over five million shares throughout the day and securing it a place in the US travel space.
The online travel company is the largest of its type in India, securing both air and rail tickets for the country’s growing middle class. While critics have pointed to the country’s low internet usage rates as a potential hurdle for the company, investors believe that MakeMyTrip will grow as India’s level of internet access increases. Seven percent of India has internet access, although growth is strong.
However, a series of controversial trademark violation lawsuits have popped up alongside the company’s rapid growth. Indian competitor Cox & Kings has accessed MakeMyTrip of using a network of online domains to divert traffic away from competitors and towards its own travel portal, ensuring that the company gains revenue that would otherwise go to competitors.
The lawsuit has reached the American Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which will likely become involved should the two parties not reach an agreement independently. Domains remain a major point of contention and litigation for online companies, many of which depend on customer loyalty and ‘type-in’ return customers for their revenue.
For MakeMyTrip, the strong performance indicates that there is huge potential for growth in India’s domestic travel market. The company is present in almost every aspect of the Indian travel world, helping customers book tickets on major airlines and find hotels within the country. The company has shown no interest in expanding internationally, preferring to grow within India’s travel industry.