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Airbnb 'to buy' home-rental firm Xiaozhu

China Daily | Updated: 2016-11-24 08:53

Airbnb Inc is in talks to acquire Xiaozhu.com to expand in China's home rental sharing market, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The companies have held multiple meetings and the discussions are advanced in nature, the person said, asking not to be identified because the talks are private. A deal is likely, the person said.

Airbnb and Xiaozhu declined to comment.

While Airbnb is the biggest global platform for people to rent their homes to travelers, it's grappling with more established local rivals Xiaozhu and Tujia.com in China.

The San Francisco-based company already has about 75,000 properties listed in the world's most populous nation and plans to increase staffing 10-fold, to 300 full-time workers.

The company had also recently inked a partnership agreement with Tencent Holdings Ltd, whose messaging service WeChat has more than 800 million active monthly users and provided 60 to 70 percent of Airbnb China's logins.

Xiaozhu would give Airbnb an instant boost in the world's second-largest economy. The Chinese startup, which was founded in 2012, said this month that it has raised $65 million of new funding.

The company said it has 10 million active users and more than 100,000 listings in 301 cities across the country. Chief Executive Officer Kelvin Chen Chi said, at the time of the funding announcement, that Xiaozhu expects to deliver 500 percent organic growth in 2016.

A deal for Xiaozhu would also help Airbnb reduce the risk of a costly battle for market share.

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