China’s answer to Airbnb Inc., Tujia.com, raised about $250 million in its latest funding round, valuing the startup at more than $1 billion, people familiar with the matter said. The Beijing-based home-rental site is the latest addition to China’s lengthening list of billion-dollar technology startups and is an indication of investors’ strong interest in the country’s booming Internet sector.
All-Stars Investment Ltd., an investment fund run by former Morgan Stanley analyst Richard Ji, led the roughly $250 million fundraising, which also included existing investor Ctrip.com International Ltd., a Chinese online travel firm, the people said.
Tujia is also in talks with strategic investors that could raise additional funds, the people said.
All-Stars Investment, a backer of Chinese taxi-hailing app Didi Kuaidi Joint Co., has emerged as a major player in the Chinese startup funding market since launching a year ago. Didi Kuaidi is in talks to raise up to $1.5 billion from investors, valuing the company at around $14 billion, people familiar with the situation told The Wall Street Journal earlier this week. In December, All-Stars led Xiaomi Corp.’s $1.1 billion fundraising round that valued the Chinese smartphone maker at more than $46 billion.
Like Airbnb, Tujia connects property owners with travelers looking for alternatives to hotels. But Tujia’s business model also includes a broader range of services, including inspecting and cleaning properties. Its website features more than 240,000 properties in 230 travel destinations across China. The company also offers vacation homes in overseas destinations such as Bali, Phuket and Tokyo for Chinese outbound tourists.
Tujia’s valuation is a fraction of Airbnb’s. The U.S. company was valued at $10 billion in a fundraising round last year. Tujia’s existing investors include GGV Capital, Lightspeed China Partners, Qiming Ventures, CBC Capital and CDH Venture, as well as U.S. vacation-rental service firm HomeAway.com.
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Article: The Wall Street Journal