Bequ, which sounds like “must go” but means “must be fun” in Chinese, is a travel site that lets you book trips, plan your itinerary, and document your trip on the go.

Sounds like an alloy of typical travel tools and OTA (online travel agency)? But when one looks closer, Bequ’s social aspects make it stand out.

One part is Bequ’s 2C ‘Circle’ feature. Whereas usually tips sourcing and giving happen in static Q&A forum form on existing travel sites, here you get group chats based on travelers’ specific interest. For example, if your goal is to shop at Fifth Avenue, you can start a group chat and other fashionista can join and give advice.

Bequ’s interest-based group chats

Another feature is the ability for merchants to set up their own page, kind of like a Taobao store homepage that bridges customers with merchants. It will allow customers to contact directly with, for example, a local restaurant, hostel or bookstore.

In regard to why Bequ has a heavy focus on social features, founder He Jingjing told TechNode that “travelers spend a tremendous amount of time on sourcing tips and planning the itinerary, while booking takes about two days.” As such, Bequ will probably accumulate stickier users than OTA sites.

The site is starting out as a desktop web version. Noticing that mobile has become a popular route for people to search and book before the trip, and share and write on the move, Bequ is looking to offer mobile access in the near future.

Bequ consists of a team of 13 members, some of who come from Tencent, online video service and solution provider Xunlei and OTA site MangoCity. It has closed its angel round with several million USD of funding.

Telling the uncommon China stories through tech. I can be reached at ritacyliao [at] gmail [dot] com.

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