ChinaTravelNews, Jimmy Zeng– HNA Group is making a strategic investment in the Series C financing round of Chinese overseas rental platform Zhubaijia, it was announced in a press conference in Beijing.
Zhubaijia’s Shenzhen-based team
Established in Beijing in 2007, the HNA Group is a major tourism conglomerate with operations in aviation, hotels, tourism, financial investment and online business.
Its new partner Zhubaijia was established in March 2012 and features rental listings in over 60 popular destination cities in Europe, North America, the Oceania, Japan, Korea and Thailand. The majority of its listings is under independent contracts and ranges from regular flats to unique properties such as European castles.
HNA Group will become a strategic partner of Zhubaijia after it invests at least RMB500 million (approx: US$78.3 million) in the startup.
The funding comes hard on the heels of Zhubaijia’s B Series financing round in the early August through which it raised almost RMB200 million (approx: US$31.35 million).
Zhubaijia’s COO Xin Zou said that HNA Group first approached Zhubaijia over a year ago and had been closely following its progress ever since.
HNA Group and Caissa Touristic have been on an ongoing search for quality overseas resources such as airports, air routes and tour operators to consolidate, and Zhubaijia’s expertise in overseas property resources has made it a prime target for HNA Group’s strategic investment.
He added that while the timing of the investment was purely coincidental, Airbnb’s hefty prices was a contributing factor to the HNA Group-Zhubaijia partnership.
Mr. Zou said that the biggest difference between Zhubaijia and Airbnb is that the former is a homegrown Chinese company with a better grasp of Chinese consumers’ needs. He said Airbnb’s complex disclaimer is proof that it is merely a platform with plenty of phantom listings in the mix.
In contrast, Zhubaijia has more experience in quality control and can effectively block false advertising. It also places more emphasis on enhancing the service of its listed properties to improve their quality.
While stopping short of revealing any specific details of the partnership’s future plans, Mr. Zou said the next step for Zhubaijia after its C Series financing round is the development of special joint projects with HNA Group.
He confirmed that Zhubaijia’s overseas short-term rental will integrate comprehensively with HNA Group’s superior resources in the aviation and tourism industries and the group is looking forward to making an IPO as soon as Zhubaijia enters a high-growth phase in user number and income.(Translation by David)