China’s Airbnb rival Xiaozhu raises $300m from Jack Ma’s Yunfeng Capital

Photo from Xiaozhu.com

Chinese short-term rental firm Xiaozhu.com said on Wednesday it has raised nearly $300 million in a funding round led by Jack Ma’s Yunfeng Capital, amid fierce competition from U.S. giant Airbnb Inc and local rival Tujia.com.

The company did not disclose its new valuation but said in November 2017 that it was worth more than $1 billion after closing a $120 million round, also led by Yunfeng Capital.

Xiaozhu said it will also launch a smart service and security system for its platform backed by technology from Alibaba Group Holding Ltd .

China’s domestic tourism market has expanded rapidly in recent years, driven by a fast-growing middle class and the proliferation of online travel services.

The short-term rental market however is heavily regulated, due in part to strict address registration regulations, and local services have expanded heavily into value-added services to drive profits and beat competition.

As of April, Xiaozhu launched a full-service option that does not require landlords to interact with guests, including photography and cleaning services and internet-connected door locks.

It says it uses Alibaba’s facial recognition technology in its door locks in about 40 cities.

Xiaozhu said it currently has over 500,000 active listings.

The company’s top rival, Tujia.com, raised $300 million in October 2017 and is backed by Chinese travel-giant Ctrip.com International. At the time it claimed to have about 650,000 listing on its platform.

Airbnb is also beefing up its presence in China, though it has been forced to comply with strict regulations, including disclosing host information to Chinese government agencies.

The U.S. firm, along with Tujia and Xiaozhu, has also been required to close off listings during politically sensitive events, including China’s Party Congress.

Reuters

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.