China has for the longest time remained a tough nut to crack for Western companies. Twitter, YouTube, Google and Facebook are internet services banned in China. Interestingly, the Chinese go ahead and launch services similar to those offered by the western companies which go on to become successful as was witnessed with Weibo and Didi Kuaidi, a taxi hailing service. Some of the western companies have either faced legal backlash as was the case with Uber.
In May, Chinese authorities raided the offices of Uber in the City of Guangzhou. The company was accused of operating illegally despite having set up its operations in China in 2013. During the raid, the authorities alleged that Uber lacked the legal status to provide taxi services. In an interesting turn of events, the Guangzhou’s municipal transportation bureau launched their own ide-sharing app, known as Ruyue to rival Uber.
An apartment sharing app in China has now closed a $300 Million funding according to Financial Times. The service called Tujia, which means “home on a journey” in Chinese, is the country’s biggest apartment-sharing and vacation rental website. The service emerged in June, just when AirBnB was closing a round funding which would allow it to open its operations in the Asian market including China. China is currently the world’s largest source of tourists around the world and the startup plans to service this number of tourists especially in the Asian market according to FT. The startup also offers property management services and expects to have over 450M properties on its site. It will be of course interesting to see if this startup scales to the levels of Didi Kuaidi which controls close to 80% of the Chinese taxi services and is begin to diversify into buses and chauffeur services. Tujia also plans to partner with other companies in overseas markets such as Australia and the US as it seeks a slice of the global market.
Source: Financial Times