China outbound travel service ByeCity raises $20 million

Chinese outbound travel service ByeCity has raised about $20 million in a Series B round led by Alibaba and China Broadband Capital (CBC).

The Beijing-based company will use the fund to improve the user experience, and branding.

In 2008, the company received about $10 million investment from from JAFCO Asia and Investor Growth Capital. In 2011, it received an undisclosed amount from TaishanXD.

ByeCity’s services include visa processing, reservation for holiday packages, hotels, flights and car rentals.

The company claims that the success rate for its visa processing service is at 99.8%. In cases where the company is not able to get visa for passengers, it refunds the amount.

In 2013, ByeCity processed over 400,000 visas, an increase of 471% compared to 2012, and an increase of 1,233% compared to 2011.

CBC’s other investments in travel industry include a $10 million investment in China-based travel experience sharing service Breadtrip, China-based vacation rental service Tujia (secured $64 million in Series B), and China-based car rental mobile app service Yongche.

Alibaba’s travel industry presence

In February 2014, Alibaba offered to fully acquire China mapping service AutoNavi.

In November 2013, Alibaba led a $100 million round in China-based taxi hailing service Kuaidi Dache.

In July 2013, Alibaba backed Qyer, a nine-year old Chinese portal which sources travel deals from sites such as Ctrip and Juhuasuan (a service owned by Taobao).

Again in July 2013, Alibaba-owned Etao (a shopping search engine) launched a hotel metasearch engine, a competitor to Qunar, the country’s biggest travel metasearch engine which is majority owned by Baidu.

In March 2013, Alibaba invested in, a travel journal and experience sharing app.

Alibaba’s Taobao launched a dedicated travel portal in 2010 which is positioned in the similar business of Chinese OTA giant, Ctrip.

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Karthick Prabu

About the Writer :: Karthick Prabu

Karthick was general manager for Tnooz in Asia until September 2014.



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