Ctrip gets deeper into Tujia, leads $300 million Series E

China’s Airbnb-of-sorts Tujia.com has raised another $300 million in a Series E round, led by Ctrip.

The deal values Tujia at $1.5 billion.

It is the first funding round to be completed since Tujia’s internal restructure, announced last October, when its online and offline businesses were separated out.

Tujia’s online business is where the Airbnb comparisons come from – it runs a platform for hosts to share and guest to book accommodation. The platform’s scale and reach runs to more than 650,000 online listings covering 345 domestic destinations and more than 1000 international options.

As part of the October restructure announcement, Tujia acquired the homestay businesses of Ctrip and Qunar, integrating them into its platform. It also bought rival Mayi.com for an undisclosed sum, creating a strong local competitor for Airbnb, which has identified China as one of its priority markets.

Ctrip’s participation in the Series E round comes after the OTA also took part in Tujia’s $100 million Series C (June14) and its $300 million Series D (Aug15) rounds. Expedia Inc’s HomeAway took part in its reported $15m Series A (May12) as well as the Series C round.

Ctrip was joined in the Series E by All-Stars Investment as co-lead, with China Renaissance’s New Economy Fund, Glade Brook Capital, and G Street Capital taking part.

The biggest difference between Tujia and Airbnb is that Tujia is a real-estate developer, involved in the funding and construction of bricks and mortar accommodations. It currently works with more than 200 government agencies and developers and is involved in the construction of 1 million units of accommodation.

The Series E has been earmarked for “optimizing the user experience by standardizing aspects of [its] alternative travel accommodations such as linen washing, cleanliness, and smart capabilities,” and to “further invest in the domestic high-end real estate market and in foreign markets.”

The suggestion that Tujia is looking at developing real-estate outside of China is a sign that it is looking to expand its online and offline business units. By building its own inventory outside China, Tujia can guarantee Chinese outbound travellers a homestay experience within a hotel context. Its model here is more Ascott than Airbnb.

Airbnb would argue that its target audience in China – millennials – do not want to stay somewhere Chinese when they go overseas and are “looking for an alternative way to travel”.

The market is large enough for Airbnb to serve Chinese millennials who appear to have adopted its “travel like a local” and for Tujia to serve Chinese outbound who want something a bit more familiar.

Related reading from tnooz:

Priceline’s Glenn Fogel on metasearch, home-sharing, direct booking, and localization in China (Sept17)
Ctrip heralds early success of Skyscanner’s direct booking option (Aug17)
Millennials are the future for Airbnb China (March17)

See also:
tnooz webinar – the motivations and mindset ofonline travelers in China, the US and the UK (Oct 17)


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Martin Cowen

About the Writer :: Martin Cowen

Martin Cowen is contributing editor for Tnooz and is based in the UK. Besides reporting and editing, he also oversees our sponsored content initiative and works directly with clients to produce articles and reports.

For the past several years he has worked as a freelance writer, specialising in B2B distribution and technology.

Before freelancing, from 2000-2008, he was launch editor for e-tid.com, the first online-only B2B daily news service for the UK travel sector.



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