Ascott to invest in 'China version of Airbnb'
CAPITALAND's wholly owned serviced-residence business unit, Ascott, is leading a consortium to invest $67.69 million in Tujia, an online apartment-sharing platform which has been dubbed as the Chinese equivalent of United States home-rental website Airbnb.
Ascott will also form a joint venture with Tujia with initial capital of $54.15 million.
As part of its joint venture with Tujia, Ascott will operate serviced apartments located within the key growth cities of China using a new brand.
These will include newly sourced properties and Tujia's serviced apartments in China that are deemed suitable for conversion. This will provide Ascott with a pipeline of apartment units to expand its portfolio in China, where it targets to achieve 20,000 units by 2020.
Separately, CapitaLand has formed a technology council to boost its digital efforts to drive its real estate business.
The council members are notable venture capitalists Foo Jixun, managing partner of GGV Capital, and David Su, managing partner of Matrix Partners China, both of whom have strong interest in technology; as well as Gabriel Lim, chief executive of the Media Development Authority of Singapore.
Lim Ming Yan, president and group CEO of CapitaLand, said: "CapitaLand's technology drive is part of the group's efforts to sharpen our customer-centric focus to develop real estate of the future - integrated and interconnected smart communities through smart buildings as well as seamless online and offline customer experiences."
THE BUSINESS TIMES