Got an email today asking me whether he has successfully booked air ticket via elong.net. The question was, he was not asked for details of credit card information (such as credit card number, holders name) while the system just reported the hotel and flights were booked successfully. He thought it was strange and want to confirm whether he booked it or not.
I checked elong.net and found out it may be a common question for people using websites in China.
Cash on Delivery Still a Good Collection Model
On the checkout page of elong, they have two options for getting the ticket – one is Deliver to door, the other is self-pickup. To deliver the paper ticket (may not be necessary now), they send a person to the address you specify. For the pickup, you have to go to one of their two offices in Beijing to get it.
For the payment, there is only one option: cash on delivery. That means, you have your cash (please note, cash, instead of credit card) ready, and when they deliver the ticket to you, or when you pickup your ticket at your counter, you pay the cash.
Cash on delivery is still a mainstream payment method for flight booking sites like ctrip.com, and online book store dangdang.com (joyo.com is almost over after acquired by amazon.com).
Obviously these two methods are not suitable for people outside China. However, it is a very good way to do business in China. Considering the very low adoption rate of credit card, and even rare of customer acceptance, cash on delivery is a good option. Now, many people have debit cards, but credit cards still have a long way to go.