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Ascott invests $50 million in Tujia, Chinese AirBnB; paves way for Tujia's EMEA entry

Ascott announced it had invested $50 million in Tujia.com, through the lastest funding round of the Chinese home rental platform. This should also enable Tujia to enter EMEA markets in a near future, as Ascott announced it plans to commercialize its global portfolio through the platform.

The Ascott Limited officially announced it had invested $50 million in Tujia.com, the Chinese AirBnB, as it took the lead of a consortium that invested $300 million in the home sharing site, now valued at more than $1 billion. Tujia offers 310,000 apartments in 388 destinations, in China and some top-tier Asian cities (including notably Singapore, Tokyo and Bangkok); it also operates apartments on behalf of their owners and has a franchising activity.

Together, Ascott & Tujia will also setup a joint-venture: steered by Ascott and with an initial capital of $40 million, it will operate and franchise extended stay hotels in China, where Ascott seeks to reach the 20,000 apartment milestone by 2020 (against 14,000 today, through 77 units located in 24 cities). To achieve this goal, a new joint brand will be launched, and will gather in its protfolio new Ascott residences as well as Tujia apartments that may be rebranded.

Last but not least, Ascott will add its full portfolio of brands to the Tujia booking platform, which should thus soon debut in Europe and the Middle East, where Ascott is already well-settled (mostly through its Citadines & Ascott brands).

Ascott CEO Lee Chee Koon (also now a member of Tujia's Board), said: “China’s lengthening list of billion-dollar technology start-ups is an indication of investors’ confidence in the country’s booming internet sector. By investing in Tujia, a frontrunner in the online apartment sharing platform, Ascott is now well positioned to benefit from this growth.

This investment will also allow Ascott to better integrate our offline resources with Tujia’s online capabilities to participate more strategically in the Chinese internet space. We plan to make our three internationally recognised brands of serviced residences – Ascott, Citadines and Somerset – available on Tujia’s website for booking, expanding our reach to more customers online.”
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