Domestic tourism in China hit a record high in 2012, with 3 billion trips. And as of yesterday the hipsters of Shanghai and Shenzen (aka "cultured youth") will have more lodging options similar to their bike-riding, sweater-wearing brethren in San Francisco and Stockholm.
Two Chinese Airbnb clones, Mayi.com (meaning "ants") and Xiaozhu.com (meaning "little piggies"), each announced that they've secured $10 million in venture backing. They join a third company, Tujia.com, in the suddenly crowded Chinese market for crowdsourced short-term lodging in citizens' homes and apartments.
Mayi's backers are based in Silicon Valley: VantagePoint, BlueRun and Sequoia Capital. Tujia, too, has a partnership with the American company HomeAway.
Airbnb, which was already one of Silicon Valley's most imitated successes when we wrote about the Most Innovative Company last February, declined to comment. They currently have around 1,300 listings in China, and have been chasing local competitors in the region, primarily in Southeast Asia. Last month they completed an Asian expansion, opening operations in Thailand, Malaysia and the Philippines. But the focus remains on Western travelers, with the site mainly operating in English.
[Image: Flickr user Eric Magnuson]