The Asian peer to peer market is growing rapidly so it’s time for another regional roundup. I’ve written before about Southeast Asian peer to peer services, now I want to talk more about China and other parts of Asia. This is a potentially huge market targeting both domestic travelers and international visitors.
Targeting the domestic market, a number of peer to peer car rental companies launched in China in the past few years (uuzuche, ppzuche, atzuche). These sites are all in Chinese so they won’t help international travelers who don’t know the language. But the number of companies offering services in this space suggest that there is interest among Chinese folks for sharing economy services.
The Chinese peer to peer rental site Xiaozhu just raised $60M in investor funding in July. Founded in 2012 the site has more than 30,000 listings. Although the website is in Chinese, with a little help from built-in language translators on the web this could be a good resource for non-Chinese travelers seeking lodging.
Competing with the local and regional based companies, Airbnb recently closed a $1.5 billion deal with Chinese investors to make a big push into China, one of their fastest growing markets.
Travelmob offers a peer to peer rental service mostly focused in Asia. Founded in 2012, they were acquired by HomeAway in July of 2013. There’s an interesting interview with the CEO of TravelMob here.
Pandabed, another Asian peer to peer rental site also founded in 2012, launched a new feature called PeerMatch in July. This service uses statistical analysis to match travelers and hosts based on interests and demographics. According to the PandaBed blog: “Unlike the western model where travellers and homeowners look to experience a differentiated experience, we believe that mainstream Asian travelers still feel comfortable with hosts who are similar to them…PandaBed aims to spur the rapid growth of the Peer-to-Peer home sharing movement by aligning it with Asian values and insights.”
The survey is a bit clunky to navigate, and search results mostly don’t use the PeerMatch system yet. The survey allows users to specify how important characteristics are to them including religion, sexual orientation, age, and cleanliness. For hosts just looking to make money on the sharing economy it doesn’t make sense to differentiate using PeerMatch, but for people offering to host guests while they are at home, it might be important to find guests who fit into their lifestyle (vegetarian, non-smokers, etc.).
I’m a bit hesitant about this feature because I would like to think that travelers and hosts are looking to meet folks from a wide diversity of backgrounds and some of the questions are about culture and identity. I don’t love the idea that someone might say they won’t accept guests who are gay or who are Muslim. But these folks do exist out there, and I’d rather not stay in their homes, so perhaps this matching service will also work out well for the openminded.
Tujia, a peer to peer rental lodging service based in China, raised a $300 million Series D round in August. With over 300,000 properties listed in China and other destinations, and some big backers like Ctrip, this money will help Tujia expand internationally.
Parcelio offers peer to peer delivery to mainland China, Taiwan and Hong Kong. Right now they only use Berkeley students for these deliveries, apparently to build trust among the recipients. They’ve been around since 2012, based in San Francisco (no surprise with the Berkeley connection).
You can view all the Asian (and other) peer to peer travel companies in this spreadsheet. The Location column allows you to filter by country or region.