17u.cn, a Chinese online travel service provider, has received $82 million in a massive round of funding.
The deal was led by Boyu Capital with participation from existing investors Oriza and Asian juggernaut Tencent.
Launched in 2004, 17u started with business-to-business online travel products. Until now, it has demonstrated little difference from other consumer-facing online travel services like Ctrip. 17u.cn provides hotel reservations, flights, cruise booking, sightseeing tickets, services for self-travelers, group-buying deals, etc.
Tencent invested tens of millions of yuan in 17u.cn in mid-2012. An earlier rumor had it that the Chinese Internet giant bought a 30 percent stake in 17u in 2011. However, 17u never confirmed that deal. In 2008, the company received 35 million yuan in funding from Oriza.
After the deal in 2012, 17u’s services were integrated into Tencent’s QQ Travel platform.
In 2012, 17u announced it would go public on the Growth Enterprise Market in mainland China. That the IPO hasn’t happened may have something to do with the fact that Chinese authorities put a freeze on IPOs from October 2012 to January 2014.
Commenting on this latest round of funding, 17u reps said the company’s goal is still an IPO. This round of funding will be input into sightseeing tickets, short-distance travels, mobile, among others. The company aims to be the No.1 in casual travel in China.
The sightseeing tickets market is where Chinese online travel services are fighting, as the markets for flights and hotels have been mature for some time. Ctrip planned to input heavily into its attraction tickets platform this year.
This story originally appeared on TechNode.
Tencent has grown into one of China's largest and most used Internet service portal. Since its establishment over the last decade, Tencent has maintained steady growth under its user-oriented operating strategies. On June 16, 2004, Ten... read more »
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