Xiaozhu, the Chinese home-sharing site, just got a whole lotta cash in its bid to take on rival Airbnb in the massive Chinese market.
According to travel biz site Skift, the company just got $120 million in funding courtesy of a round led by Alibaba head honcho Jack Ma’s Yunfeng Capital. Groups like Joy Capital, Morningside Ventures, and Capital Today all participated in the Series E round. The funding bumped the company’s valuation to unicorn levels of over $1 billion. As with many unicorns, though, the valuation hasn’t yet translated into profits, although back in 2016, Xiaozhu’s CEO and cofounder Kelvin Chen Chi told ChinaTravelNews that he expected the company to be profitable this year.
The new funds will help Xiaozhu compete not only with Airbnb, but with local rival Tujia.com. Tujia, though, focuses on professionally managed properties, while Xiaozhu is closer to Airbnb’s peer-to-peer short-term rental model. Xiaozhu’s properties definitely look more lived-in than those touted on Tujia.com. That’s part of the reason that, as Bloomberg reported earlier this year, Airbnb decided not to acquire Xiaozhu, hoping instead to find a site whose properties would appeal to the high-end market.
That said, based on a cursory survey of the site, some of the homes seem to include resident corgis, dumplings, and panda cuddling opportunities, which are their own added value.ML