June 28, 2017

China’s big Airbnb rival is taking the battle overseas

fenghuang county ancient town hunan china 2012 tujia miao minority
By chensiyuan (chensiyuan) [GFDL or CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0], via Wikimedia Commons

China’s leading home-rental site has been a thorn in Airbnb’s side in the world’s most populous country. It’s often referred to as a clone of the U.S. startup, but Tujia co-founder Melissa Yang takes issue with that.

“We are not copying anyone’s business model,” she said in an interview.

Tujia first started out renting out vacation properties that were essentially mini-hotels, fully run by Tujia staff.

The home-rental side of the company — which, like Airbnb, connects property owners with travelers looking for alternatives to hotels — came later. But to address Chinese hosts and travelers’ general wariness, Tujia offers a broader range of services than Airbnb, like inspecting and cleaning properties.

Now, Tujia is chasing the rapidly growing number of Chinese people traveling abroad to popular destinations in Southeast Asia, Japan and South Korea. The company is currently seeking a fresh round of funds, in part to help expand products and properties abroad.Tujia set up a small team in Japan in 2016, and Yang says bookings have now quadrupled there in just one year.”We know China travelers the best,” Yang said. “We follow whatever Chinese travelers want.” […]

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