Woqu, launched in April this year, is a Chinese travel site currently focused on only one market, the U.S.. The site has just secured US$20 million in Series B round of funding let by Tencent and joined by existing investor MorningSide Ventures. The site announced multi-million dollars in Series A from MorningSide shortly after its launch.
Woqu is founded Huang Zhiwen, former president at Chinese travel site Mangocity.com. The new funding will be used for developing mobile services and expanding to other markets, such as Australia, New Zealand and Europe according to the company.
Woqu chose the U.S. market to start with, according to Mr. Huang, was because (1) increasingly more Chinese travellers travel to the U.S., and (2) they wanted to avoid competition with big players in China’s online travel market.
China outbound tourism has been developing fast. In the 12 months ending in March 2014, 102 million border crossings took place in China, according to a report by China Outbound Tourism Research Institute (COTRI). 1.4 million Chinese traveled to the U.S. in 2012 and 2013 saw a 27% increase, according to Woqu. It is expected the number will reach 2 million by the end of this year.
Chinese social giant Tencent has a stake in eLong, the online travel agency competing directly with Ctrip, and invested in 17u.cn earlier this year.