Xiaozhu, regarded as China’s answer to Airbnb, is ramping up efforts to expand overseas in a bid to cash in on the travel boom.
The country’s leading home-sharing startup announced it has entered into a global partnership with Booking Holdings Inc.’s Agoda Co. The companies will collaborate in a wide variety of businesses ranging from listing, technology and service innovation to branding and marketing.
In a joint statement, the two companies said the initial phase of their cooperation will involve sharing of inventory, which would result in 100,000 listings on each platform.
“As Chinese outbound and inbound tourism are growing rapidly, homestay platforms must be able to provide high-quality services to global consumers. To this end, Xiaozhu is accelerating cooperation with our industry partners,” Chen Chi, Xiaozhu’s co-founder and chief executive, said in the statement.
With the partnership, Xiaozhu will promote more listings in China to travelers from the United States, Australia, and Europe, another company executive told Beijing News in an interview.
The startup aims to overcome the language barrier for Chinese tourists staying in overseas countries. Foreign properties offered by Agoda will be listed in Chinese on Xiaozhu’s site. Similarly, Agoda will provide listings and customer service in the language of foreign users who are interested in renting properties from Xiaozhu.
Agoda is owned by Booking Holdings – formerly known as Priceline Group – which also runs online travel booking site Booking.com and travel fare aggregator Kayak.
As China’s leading home sharing platform, Xiaozhu has more than 250,000 listings and 20 million registered users, according to a report released recently by the company.
It launched its overseas business in 2017, and now covers listings in over 100 overseas regions and cities, including booming markets like Japan and Thailand.
The startup finished its US$120 million Series E funding round last November, led by Yunfeng Capital backed by Alibaba’s founder Jack Ma.
This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on March 15
Translation by Ben Ng with additional reporting
[Chinese version 中文版]
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