Tujia expands in Japan as rivalry with Airbnb heats up

October 12, 2017 15:15
Tujia.com provides versatile accommodation arrangements, including tents, apart from luxury or bed and breakfast lodging rentals. Photo: China News Service

Tujia.com, a Chinese online vacation rental startup, plans to boost its presence in Japan to take advantage of the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics.

Tomoko Suzuki, chief executive of Tujia's Japanese unit, said the company also sees opportunities in the plan of the Japanese government to ease restrictions on short-term house leases by next year.

Tujia, Airbnb Inc.'s largest rival in China, plans to buy a large number of residential apartments in Japan, which is more attractive than China in terms of land prices, Suzuki told Bloomberg in an interview.

The company aims to increase the number of rooms it can offer to travelers in Japan to 100,000 before 2019, from 10,000 at present, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reported.

The number of international travelers to Japan has hit 18.9 million in the first eight months of this year, up 18 percent from the same period in 2016, according to the Japan National Tourism Organization. Tourists from China exceeded 800,000 in August alone.

Tujia recently raised US$300 million in its latest round of funding, with Chinese online travel agency Ctrip.com and specialized hybrid fund All-Stars Investment as lead investors. Other investors include investment firms G Street Capital and Glade Brook Capital.

After this series E funding, Tujia's value is estimated to reach US$1.5 billion.

Founded in December 2011, Beijing-based Tujia offers 650,000 properties in 345 cities across China on its website and mobile app.

Aside from China and Japan, it has also ventured into other Asian markets such as Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia.

Meanwhile, San Francisco-based Airbnb Inc. is also seeking to expand its presence in China. It has partnered with tech giants Alibaba and Tencent to attract young travelers.

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