Tujia, China’s biggest Airbnb-esque site, has trousered US$300 million in funding, it announced today.
The money is technically only for its online offerings, following the earlier detachment of Tujia’s online and offline businesses into separate units.
Started in 2011, Tujia became a billion-dollar startup in 2015 with its previous round of funding. With this latest injection of cash, Tujia’s online wing is valued at US$1.5 billion on its own.
“We see significant growth in China’s online short term rental market and expect it to reach similar penetration levels of accommodations bookings as in the US and Europe,” said Paul Hudson, founder and CIO at Glade Brook, a new investor into Tujia. Glade Brook has also backed Airbnb and Uber.
Airbnb has been slow to take the Chinese market seriously. Only in late 2016 did it set up a China entity. The Silicon Valley giant chose its Chinese name earlier this year – Aibiying, which means “welcome each other with love” – but it was widely mocked on social media as “ugly-sounding.” One netizen said the new name was reminiscent of “a filthy love motel,” referring to an hourly hotel where young couples meet for sex.
As a result, Tujia has grown with little real competition from Airbnb. The local startup now covers 345 domestic and 1,037 foreign destinations, with over 650,000 online listings, it said today in a statement.
The lead investors in this round were Ctrip and All-Stars Investment, with China Renaissance’s New Economy Fund, Glade Brook Capital, and G Street Capital also participating.
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