Social travel service Mafengwo pockets $133M Series D for UGC development and big data

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Chinese social travel service Mafengwo announced today that has completed a D round worth $133 million. New investors in this round include General Atlantic, Ocean Link, Temasek, Yuantai Investment, and Hopu. Existing investors Capital Today, Qiming Venture Partners, and Hillhouse Capital also participated.

The proceeds will be used to improve the global travel experience, offer user-generated content, deepen the application of advanced analytics, and improve travel guides and services, according to a company statement.

Born out of an online travel community for Chinese millennials, the startup has grown to become an independent online travel platform that aggregates user-generated reviews of destinations, hotels, attractions, and local activities to provide trip planning advice to self-guided travelers in China.

Gang Lü, Co-Founder and COO of Mafengwo, said, “Mafengwo began as one of China’s largest tourism communities and has since evolved to become an independent online travel service platform that covers over 60,000 travel destinations globally and leverages advanced analytics to provide a unique user experience. Our platform continues to be differentiated due to our community of users, who generate diverse and candid feedback, recommendations, and ideas, and our AI-enabled platform, which makes it easy for our users to find the content and recommendations they need to make travel plans.”

The company previously raised an undisclosed C round from investors including Hillhouse Capital, Coatue Management LLC, Qiming Venture Partners in 2015. A $15 million B round was received in 2013. The company expects its total GMV to reach nearly RMB 10 billion in 2017.

The GMV of China’s online travel market approached RMB 176 billion in Q2 2017, rising 24.8% on the previous year. Along with the market boom over the past decade, there’s been a significant change in the way that Chinese people travel: from organized tours to individual trips, where travelers seek in-depth experiences as part of the journey. The rise of Mafengwo, its top rival Qiongyou and a raft of custom traveling platforms find their roots in this change.