Tujia, China’s equivalent of the property-rental site Airbnb, has raised $300 million in its latest round of funding, valuing the start-up at more than $1 billion, the company said on Monday.
The fund-raising was led by the Hong Kong-based All-Stars Investment, which has also invested in the smartphone maker Xiaomi and the taxi-hailing app Didi Kuaidi.
Luo Jun, one of Tujia’s founders, said the financing would be used to promote its brand and develop its online and offline platforms. Tujia is China’s largest website for vacation property rentals, but it is more involved in the maintenance and verification of properties than services like Airbnb.
“This new round of financing shows that the Chinese market has fully accepted the vacation-rental industry led by Tujia,” Mr. Luo said in a news release.
China’s tourism industry has been growing fast. Spending on domestic trips rose to 3 trillion renminbi, or about $483 billion, in 2014, from 528 billion renminbi in 2005, according to government data.
Richard Ji, a co-founder of All-Stars Investment, said he saw potential in the Tujia model because a weakening property market in China means there are more rooms available to rent.
“There’s a deep pipeline of room supply,” he said. “The local government tends to be the largest landlord and they want Tujia to help them absorb the vacancies.”
Tujia is also starting to offer rentals overseas for Chinese travelers. It has teamed up with the Texas-based holiday listing site HomeAway to translate its property listings into Mandarin, which will give Tujia access to properties outside of China. Some of this round of funding also came from The Ascott, which manages luxury serviced apartments around the world.