Watch out Airbnb and Airizu, your Chinese counterpart has arrived, finally. Ganji.com, one of the largest classified sites in China announced its vacation rental service Mayi.com to go online yesterday.
The service, which Ganji claimed investing US$ 20 million into, with a tagline of “Finding A Home on the Road”, is aiming to build a platform to bridge the gap between the renters and landlords with a focus on short-term accommodation and vacation rental, a market first explored by San Francisco-based Airbnb. Founded in August 2008 by Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia, as of this July Airbnb which has raised US$ 120 million in total had over 100,000 listings in 16,000 cities and 186 countries.
According to Yang haoyong, CEO of Ganji, “On one hand, Mayi.com can help landlords tout for renters online then do the deal offline. On the other hand, it can guide renters through the house-picking process and then they can pay online. It’s a typical O2O (online to offline) service as you pay online and then consume offline. We believe in the future of combining O2O and short-term rental and that’s why Ganji invest heavily into the market. ”
Mayi.com now has over 8000 available suites online. “We can provide quality rooms with much cheaper prices as compared to hotels”, said Yang.
As for security, a common question concerning short-term accommodation, Mayi.com will send staff to validate the house to make sure renters’ safety, they didn’t say how or what metrics they’ll use for validating though.
And renters’ security is just one side of the matter, how about the safety of landlords’ property. As you may have heard of one Airbnb lister’s home vandalism nightmare, which eventually Airbnb apologized with security precautions to reassure the landlords or potential landlords:
Starting August 15th, when hosts book reservations through Airbnb their personal property will be covered for loss or damage due to vandalism or theft caused by an Airbnb guest up to $50,000 with our Airbnb Guarantee. Terms will apply to the program and may vary (e.g. by country). This program will also apply retroactively to any hosts who may have reported such property damage prior to August 1, 2011
Such thing can hands-down happen in China too, how will Mayi address those problems? It hasn’t given any answer or taken any precautions yet.
Another problem facing Mayi.com is, will this model work in China? Renting out one’s own property for only a short term might be seen as popular in the western world, but it’s something relatively new here in China.
It seems that mayi.com still has a long road to explore and a lot of questions to answer.