Online travel platform Qyer.com has completed its Series D funding, receiving nearly USD 60 million. Qyer.com is a TripAdvisor-like website with forums geared towards backpackers and self-guided travelers (its Chinese name means traveling for the poor). The platform has now expanded its services to the increasing number of outbound travelers in China, which is the largest in the world. According to the China Tourism Research Institute, Chinese outbound travelers will likely surpass 120 million in 2015.
Utour, one of China’s leading international travel companies, was the lead investor, followed by SIG China. Utour bought Qyer’s shares for 25 million through capital increase and transferring stocks. After the transaction, Utour now owns 5.499% of Qyer’s shares, and Qyer’s valuation is now about RMB three billion.
According to Utour’s announcement, investing in Qyer will improve the range of custom tours and self-guided tours available on its site and improve online experience for users. Utour will use Qyer’s large user base to upgrade the quality of its products and service, and help it build a business system.
Qyer.com will use the Series D funding to increase its own product line, increase staff and big data capabilities, and plans to upgrade its strategy with big data as a focus to match customer demands with travel services.
With growing demand for outbound tourism in China, the two companies are also planning to establish a joint venture to explore the outbound self-guided tour market. According to a study by HSBC, the number of Chinese outbound tourists is expected to rise to 242 million by 2024, more than double the 116 million outbound tourists in 2014.
Qyer.com’s biggest rival is Mafengwo.cn. It is also competing with OTA giants Tuniu Travel, backed by Chinese e-commerce giant JD.com, and Tongcheng Travel, backed by real estate giant Wanda. On Monday, another outbound travel site Fxtrip.com raised USD 10 M in its Series B financing.
(Top photo from Baidu Images.)